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After nine years of promises to unravel the spaghetti of traffic-clogged lanes known as the Dorval circle, the three levels of government laid the money on the table yesterday.

In total, they've earmarked $150 million to eliminate the traffic circle at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay, federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre, Quebec Finance Minister Michel Audet and other provincial and federal ministers made an election-style whistle stop at Montreal city hall to make the announcement.

Under the plan:

Highway 20 would be linked directly to the airport via a tunnel under the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railway tracks.

The Via Rail station would be displaced from its location adjacent to the Highway 20 exit leading to the airport. That would enable a shuttle rail service to be established between downtown and the airport. Environmental and cost studies on the shuttle are well advanced.

Cote de Liesse Rd. and Highway 20 would be directly linked, and Cote de Liesse widened.

Dorval Ave. would be extended north of the rail tracks, winding around the Best Western hotel and on to the Hilton hotel.

The renovations, promised since the decision was made to transfer international flights back to the airport (then called Dorval) from Mirabel in 1996, are expected to begin next spring and be completed by 2009.

The officials also announced a $235-million investment to upgrade water-treatment procedures at Montreal's two largest drinking-water-production plants: Atwater and Charles-J. Des Baillets. The upgrades will be designed to meet new provincial safety norms.

The Atwater plant, built in 1918, also requires improvements to the mechanical control system, city officials explained.

The combined $385 million for the Dorval project and the water-production facilities will be footed by the three levels of government.

Ottawa's total contribution will be $114 million. The windfall comes after Prime Minister Paul Martin's government promised on Friday to channel nearly half a billion dollars to Quebec roads and small-town infrastructure projects.

Another long-awaited infrastructure project - to turn Notre Dame St. E. from a highway into boulevard - was not included yesterday. But Tremblay and Audet said a deal is close.

The Dorval project will see the federal and provincial governments each contribute $55 million and the city put up $30 million. Aeroports de Montreal, the non-profit corporation that manages the airport, will provide the final $10 million.

"It's something that's been long overdue," ADM president James Cherry said. The plans, which the corporation helped develop, will improve traffic flow to and from the airport, he said.

The Dorval circle is too complicated to easily navigate, Cherry said.

"You're going off and on expressways on to a secondary road, through a traffic circle

designed for local traffic, crossing a couple of lanes of traffic. It's actually quite dangerous."

Tremblay, who's running for re-election this fall, said the projects fulfill his promise at the start of his mandate to create partnerships with the provincial and federal governments.

Audet, whose provincial Liberal government is low in the polls, emphasized that $3 billion will be invested in Quebec infrastructure in the coming years.

Lapierre denied the federal Liberals are electioneering, notwithstanding threats by the Conservative Party and the Bloc Quebecois to bring down the minority government in a vote of non-confidence.

"I don't want an election," he said. "So if the opposition thinks (this announcement) is too close to an election, then they should hold their horses."

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