City of Quebec Originally estimated at $3.3 billion, the cost of the project has already increased by $600 million.
As the results of the call for tenders for the tramway approach, which is presumed to be much more expensive than expected, a group of business people, institutions and environmental groups wanted to make it known on Wednesday that the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, was not the only one to consider the project a priority.
“Our organizations, coming from all spheres of society, would like to reiterate their support for the tramway project and the ongoing process to achieve it,” argues former president of iA Financial Group Yvon Charest.
Mr. Charest is the spokesperson for the organization J'ai ma passe, created in 2019 to generate support for the project.
In addition to iA, this group relies on support in particular from the Bank National, the Desjardins Movement, local chambers of commerce, the Employers' Council, Laval University and public transit defense groups such as Vivre en ville and Équiterre.
Abandoning the project would send “a very bad message about Quebec’s capacity to carry out important infrastructure and public transportation projects,” they wrote in a press release released Wednesday. “The REM [Réseau express métropolitain] cannot remain the only major project to have come to fruition in 20 years. »
In recent months, the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, has seemed very isolated in his defense of the project. Even the opposition leader of Mayor Régis Labeaume's former party expressed doubts about his fate last September.
A recent poll, with a very small sample, saw popular support drop from 40% to 32%. However, for Yvon Charest, this is normal because the work has started to disrupt people's daily lives. “I have searched all the tramway projects in the world and I do not know of one where, while we are working in the guts, the population and traders are happy. »
The results of the call for tenders for the project's largest contract (that of infrastructure) must be submitted on November 2 and the group wishes to prepare the ground for the upcoming debate on what it will cost.
“We should not be surprised if the costs are higher,” says Yvon Charest, who says he fears that the cost will frighten many.
Originally estimated at 3.3 billion dollars, the cost of the project has already increased by 600 million. An increase which, by Mayor Bruno Marchand's own admission, will necessarily increase due to the surge in interest rates and inflation.
Mr. Charest is already suggesting that we make the structure of the call for tenders more flexible. “Perhaps we should work to measure rather than with a hyper-rigid framework where all the [financial] risks must be borne by the consortium,” he says, giving the example of the commitment of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and its subsidiary CDPQ Infra in the Réseau express métropolitain.
He believes that this could be possible “without additional delay” if “the city and the province come together.”
The recent relaunch of the third link project is also not unrelated to this exit. “We want to remind everyone that […] in the next five weeks, it’s the tram that we need to talk about […] We have to make sure we keep the focus on that. »
The approach of supporters of the project comes the day after a new outing from the Conservative Party of Quebec in favor of the erection of a bridge linking the South Shore of Quebec to the Island of Orléans.