Quebec tramway: the ball is in Ottawa's court for cost overruns

The Legault government has officially submitted, in writing, a request to Ottawa to assume 40% of the total bill for the tramway project in Quebec, which includes cost overruns.

Quebec tramway: the ball is in Ottawa's court for cost overruns

The Legault government has officially submitted, in writing, a request to Ottawa to assume 40% of the total bill for the tramway project in Quebec, which includes cost overruns.

The Quebec government's request was sent last week to the federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Dominic LeBlanc.

“We did indeed send a letter to Minister LeBlanc. We have no comments to make at this time,” said Transport Minister François Bonnardel’s press secretary.

Remember that Ottawa had originally committed to disburse $1.2 billion out of a total bill of $3.3 billion. However, Le Journal revealed last October that the bill for the project was now close to $4 billion.

The Project Office had confirmed that the costs had indeed jumped by $600 million. Mayor Bruno Marchand then undertook to cut $70 million from this sum through a rationalization effort. He asked the higher governments to help him pay this additional cost of $530 million.

Quebec and Ottawa have promised to be there, but nothing has yet been officially signed regarding the sharing of the bill. In recent months, the member for Quebec and federal minister Jean-Yves Duclos has repeatedly suggested that the federal government was willing to absorb 40% of the additional bill, but he systematically repeated that he had still not received a request formal.

Merchant is confident

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, also had the opportunity, in the last few days, to discuss the tramway project in person with the lieutenant of Quebec for the Trudeau government, Pablo Rodriguez. The latter participated in the foundations of the Union of Municipalities in Quebec.

“I saw Mr. Rodriguez yesterday. He told me that he had received the request from the Government of Quebec and he told me that he wanted to proceed quickly. If the federal government answers us in a few weeks, by the summer, we are well within the necessary time (...) Currently, the work is being done and is progressing with the planned deadlines, ”he said. in interview.

Mr. Marchand does not seem to see any obstacles standing in his way for the sharing of additional costs. “Minister Bonnardel did not give me the details of this request, but what he told me was that he wanted the federal government to commit up to 40% of the total sum. the costs of the project (...) To date, we have had the same echoes that we had had from Mr. Duclos and other authorities of the Liberal Party (of Canada)."

– With the collaboration of Marc-André Gagnon and Taïeb Moalla


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