Studies on the third link submitted before April

Studies on the third link submitted before April

The studies on the third link filed before April

Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press After an hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand , underlined having “very little addressed” the third link with the head of the CAQ.

Promised “at the start of the year” during the election campaign, the studies on the third link are due to land on the Prime Minister's desk at the end of March.

The tunnel which must connect Quebec and Lévis still holds on a presentation of ten pages made public last April by the CAQ government. Many had mocked an unprecedented unit of measurement created with the twin tube, the number of bridges per million inhabitants, which was to fill the CAQ's argument in favor of the third link.

Since then, no new studies have confirmed the suitability or feasibility of the tunnel. Hounded this fall on this subject, Prime Minister François Legault had repeated the impossibility of presenting any earlier, since the analyzes that the government had at its disposal did not take into account the telework factor. The comprehensive and updated studies would arrive in early 2023.

The wait is coming to an end, the head of government said on Thursday: he will have the studies in hand before April.

“What has happened is that in the last few weeks, the people responsible for the analysis, we asked them if they had taken into account the impact of telework, said François Legault Thursday on the sidelines of his ceremonial appointment as honorary mayor of Quebec. The answer was unclear, so we asked them to dig into that. They told us that they will give it back to us. »

The Prime Minister says he is aware that the advent of teleworking, accelerated by the pandemic, has changed the travel habits of the population, in Quebec as elsewhere. “We know, confirmed the Prime Minister, that there is a drop in ridership. »

Many are waiting for these studies with a firm footing. Many fear that the tunnel will increase urban sprawl in Lévis and pollution in Quebec. Some deplore a third link, which is mainly devoted to the automobile at a time when climate change imposes on the contrary to reduce its use.

The estimated bill of the construction site also repels a large number: seven billion dollars, before the inflationary surge observed over the past 12 months. A substantial amount invested to improve mobility in a metropolitan area where congestion problems do not appear obvious to many.

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, has never given his support to the third link, repeating to wait for the data from the government before taking a position. Thursday, after an hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Marchand pointed out that he had “very little discussed” the twin tube with the head of the CAQ.

Good understanding and tram

The current seemed to be restored between the two men after a particularly stormy episode, which occurred last year, which had seemed to short-circuit the good understanding between the government of Quebec and its capital. Several tenors of the Legault government had orchestrated a formal exit against Bruno Marchand and a 500-meter shared lane planned in the wake of the tramway.

The mayor of Quebec City had publicly gone off the rails, accusing the CAQ of play “short-sighted politics” by courting motorists for the vote of the suburbs.

Eleven months after this period of turbulence, harmony reigns again. “There was a showdown, it was settled. For 12 months, we have been elsewhere, indicated Bruno Marchand in a press scrum. It couldn't be better.”

In the meantime, responsibility for the Capitale-Nationale region has changed hands with the government. Geneviève Guilbault passed the torch to Jonathan Julien, a declared ally of the tramway, which contrasts with the ambivalence maintained by the former Minister of Public Security in this file.

The mayor of Quebec even showed a certain lyricism in the face of such close harmony between the interests of his city and the ambitions of the prime minister. “I felt it every minute of [our] meeting: the Prime Minister has the will to build Quebec. It's not the first time I've felt it, but I felt it again. It was renewed. »

The tram site should normally get under way this summer, a timetable that seems uncertain today. The City has not yet signed any contract related to the manufacture of the trains and the design of the infrastructures. The final cost of the project, estimated at almost four billion dollars at the last update, seems set to jump, inflated by the inflation of the last year.

According to the agreement in force, the government of Quebec will pay 50% of the bill.

“It remains reasonable given the size of the population,” said François Legault Thursday, before saying five words that may be enough to reap the good graces of the mayor: “We are still in favor of the project. »