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Plaidoyer de the last chance for the Quebec tramway

Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “I gave everything I could give to this project,” says the mayor of Quebec , Bruno Marchand, who will defend his plan B for the tramway before Prime Minister François Legault.

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, will sit down on Wednesday at the table of Prime Minister François Legault to defend the plan B envisaged by the City in order to make its tramway a reality. “I will present this plan B to the Prime Minister. I will present all the details, and I will listen to his vision of things,” underlined the elected official. Now is the time to hear the government on this issue. »

The elected official of the capital makes no secret of it: this will be the last chance plea. “I have reached the limit of my abilities. I gave everything I could give to this project. Now the ball is in the court of the Quebec government to see what it will do with it. »

In the absence of a private consortium to coordinate the site, the City proposes to take on its project management. A way of doing things proven in other megaprojects, but accompanied by a bill of 8.4 billion dollars, which raises the eyebrows of the government.

To (re)read

  • Alone to build the tramway, the City of Quebec brandishes its plan B
  • The city of Quebec already transformed, with or without a tramway
  • The Quebec tramway comes up against opposition from 60% of the population

Tuesday, on the eve of his meeting with Prime Minister Legault, Bruno Marchand specified that the sum included an amount of 2.2 billion reserved for unforeseen events. “It’s part of all projects, there are always contingencies,” argued the mayor of Quebec. In this case, they are high, at 26%. It’s conservative: I’m confident we’ll get into 8.4 billion. »

François Legault has already described the price now associated with the site as “expensive, very expensive”. In the corridors of the National Assembly, CAQ ministers now prefer to talk about “a heavy mode of transport” rather than specifically naming the tramway.

No one within the Quebec caucus would come to the defense of the tramway either, according to information reported Tuesday by Radio-Canada. It would even be the subject of ridicule among MPs, with some speaking of an “electric carriage” for Quebec, the only Canadian city of this size not to have a structuring transport network.

Despite the comments reported by the state company, Bruno Marchand believes that he will not play the role of an idiot at a “consummate dinner” when he meets the government. “I think [he has] the openness to have this frank and honest discussion. I feel it: I don’t think it’s a stupid dinner. Not at all,” stressed the mayor.

“It takes a structuring network”

The Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, once again questioned the funding promised by the federal government on Tuesday. Never short of arguments to avoid making a clear statement on the subject of the tramway, she sounded this new discordant note for the second time in a week – despite assurances from Ottawa, which repeated on Monday that it was there despite cost overruns.

“When Mr. [Minister Jean-Yves] Duclos says “the 4 billion is acquired and Ms. Guilbault knows it”, the four billion is not the federal contribution, it is the amount of the project for which there is a federal contribution,” she said, referring to the previous cost associated with the light rail of $3.9 billion. “In other words, the only thing currently attached by the federal government is 1.2 billion on a project estimated at 4 billion. »

She deplored “wording that is deliberately nebulous” on the part of the federal government, repeating that in its calculation, Ottawa is currently financing 14% of a tramway currently valued at $8.4 billion, contrary to its promise to fund 40% of it. “If there were really 4 billion in federal money attached, we wouldn't have been talking about it for a long time,” concluded the Minister of Transport.

The minister responsible for the National Capital, Jonatan Julien, once one of the most assertive allies of the tramway, sounded the same bell to place the responsibility for a possible debacle on the shoulders of Ottawa.

< p>“We always mentioned that we wanted to have a structuring network. Now the means remains to be determined. There is a tram on the table. We say: “It takes a structuring network,” said the Minister of Infrastructure. “There is also the notion of the federal government. The federal government, currently, [it has] 1.5 billion. The rest doesn't exist. A lot of money is still missing! »

Even before the City unveiled its plan B and the new budget estimate for the project, the tramway was struggling to rally the population of the capital. The most recent survey commissioned by Quebec showed a favorable opinion which peaked at 40% after the distribution of the 10% of undecideds.

With François Carabin

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116