The third link is officially back and CDPQ Infra, the branch of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will be tasked with bringing it to life. The government orders the organization to study not only Quebec’s public transportation network, but to study all mobility in the Quebec metropolitan community, including a link between the two coasts.
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault clarified the order in a letter sent to the Caisse de dépôt. CDPQ Infra will have to recommend solutions that allow “to identify a structuring transport project that will improve public transport in the city of Quebec (and) improve mobility and fluidity in the Metropolitan Community of Quebec, especially between the two. banks
Although the third link has been added to the analysis, a project that has occupied the CAQ for almost five years, the CDPQ Infra will only have six months to present its proposals.
On Monday, the Caisse indicated that it accepted the government’s mandate “to analyze the current and projected mobility of the entire Quebec Metropolitan Community (CMQ), for all modes of transport combined.” CDPQ Infra must look at existing studies to carry out its analysis.
The documentation to be consulted is abundant: the first analyzes on the third link date back to 1973 and several thousand pages of studies already focus on the Quebec streetcar. CDPQ Infra will also be able to examine drafts of an SRB between Quebec and Lévis, a site abandoned in 2017.
The deliberate death of the tram
Two weeks ago, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government rejected the Quebec mayor’s proposal for an $8.4 billion streetcar with City Hall as project manager. Bruno Marchand intends to collaborate with CDPQ Infra, but puts his conditions to the government: the resurrection of the third link cannot indefinitely postpone the creation of a structuring collective transport network in the capital.
“It cannot be a pretext so that in four months, five months, they will tell us: “it will be more complicated, it will take us more time”. It cannot be a pretext to say: “We are going to do a bigger project and the city of Quebec will have to wait”. (…) If we do that, we will have deliberately killed the project. »
At a time when the government entrusts CDPQ Infra with the task of developing the future of mobility in the greater Quebec region, specific questions remain unanswered, sometimes in the population’s backyard. In total, 75 preparatory projects for the arrival of the tram continue in the capital, with no clear indication of whether they will continue. Some 215 expropriation files also remain in limbo, Bruno Marchand said on Monday.
In total, the City spent more than $535 million to plan and prepare for the light rail rollout. The government financed the whole thing. At a time when the population affected by this work is asking for answers, the City Council passes the straw to the government, which has never spoken about the follow-up that should be given to the works already underway since the rejection of the tram.
The return of the third link
Less than 24 hours after his landslide defeat in Jean-Talon against the Parti Québécois last month, Prime Minister François Legault surprised everyone by announcing that he wanted to consult the people of Quebec on the third link and that all options were on the table. .
This turnaround came just months after the Minister of Transport announced the abandonment of the highway component of the project in favor of a tunnel reserved for public transport.
In the office of Minister Guilbault, it is indicated that the consultation on the third link will take place in parallel with the analysis of the CDPQ Infra. Its terms should also be known very soon.
In Lévis, Mayor Gilles Lehouillier did not shy away from his joy at seeing the third link back to the fore on Monday. His abandonment in the spring had “stunned” him.
“We hope that this time, the stars are well aligned,” said the Lévis elected official. He specified that the Minister of Transport herself had assured him that a highway link would be studied, and no longer the version exclusively dedicated to public transport that Geneviève Guilbault herself presented in April.
“We are back to the first in 2021 with the Réseau express de la Capitale”, rejoiced Mr. Lehouillier. Yes, we’ve wasted time… But there’s an old principle that says it’s never too late to do the right thing. »
With The Canadian Press
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