Quebec Tramway: Funding Gets Ottawa’s Blessing

It is done. “Finally,” say several. The tramway project finally obtained the approval of the federal government which authorizes the transfer of $ 800 million missing from Montreal to Quebec.

“You will ask the Mayor of Quebec. I spoke to him just before entering the building. He received the letter confirming the funding. Everything is in order to make the announcement in the coming days. ”

Canada’s Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne made the statement on the sidelines of a press conference in Lévis on Thursday.

In June, the Government of Quebec and the City of Montreal reached an agreement in principle to complete the financing of the structuring transit system in Quebec City. Mayor Valérie Plante conceded $ 800 million of federal money administered by Quebec for the construction of the tramway in the capital. In exchange, she obtained a future investment from the Quebec government in a streetcar on a stretch of the pink line.

Specifically, this agreement was made possible with the guarantee, in particular, that the Government of Quebec will include in its 2020-2030 infrastructure program the construction of the “western section of the tramway line between downtown and Lachine on the corridor. from Notre-Dame Street.

Since this agreement, the City of Quebec was waiting for a confirmation from the federal government, which had to approve it.

The Quebec government had guaranteed its participation in the Quebec City project to the tune of $ 1.8 billion, but claimed that the $ 1.2 billion promised by Ottawa was not on the table.

The Legault government criticized the current federal-provincial transit funding agreement. It favors cities that already rely on developed public transit systems, such as Montreal, because the money is distributed according to ridership. The metropolis thus captured most of Ottawa’s $ 5.2 billion, leaving $ 412 million in Quebec City, resulting in a $ 800 million shortfall to complete the financing of Québec’s transit structuring network project. valued at $ 3.3 billion.

To this, the federal government responded that the $ 1.2 billion announced for the Quebec City light rail project could be drawn from various budget envelopes granted to the province of Quebec and managed by the provincial government. Quebec responded that the amounts available in the other envelopes were already invested in various projects.

Faced with this political impasse, the Quebec government appealed to the Plante administration to negotiate an agreement that would transfer the missing $ 800 million to the capital.

In 2021, the City of Lévis will start its project to develop public transportation lanes on boulevard Guillaume-Couture. A project of $ 87.9 million.

“This is the largest public infrastructure investment in Lévis. It’s historic, “said Lévis Mayor Gilles Lehouillier, who had opted for the project after the SRB project was abandoned.

The announcement had already been made in 2017 under the former Liberal government of Quebec. At the time, there was no financial contribution from the federal government.

This time, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure, François-Philippe Champagne, was there to confirm a $ 27.3 million investment from Ottawa. The addition of this partner reduces Lévis’ financial share, which is now $ 10 million. The Legault government contributes $ 50 million. The Minister responsible for the Chaudière-Appalaches region, Marie-Éve Proulx, represented the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel.

The project involves the development of two new lanes reserved for public transit on the 4.5 km section of boulevard Guillaume-Couture, between the Desjardins and Chute-de-la-Chaudière-Est poles.

The money will be used to widen the roadway, develop waiting areas, modify traffic lights, add adapted bus shelters, modify sidewalks, build bike paths and the relocation of municipal infrastructure.

The Mayor of Lévis wishes to take advantage of this major investment to densify the area along the route. He could not confirm again Wednesday whether the reserved lanes will be located in the center of the roadway or on each side. Ongoing studies will determine the best option.

Work that will begin in 2021 will extend until 2024-25, advance Mayor Lehouillier. This project will be done in parallel with the transformation of Route 116 into an urban boulevard. Moreover, consultations will begin soon to obtain the opinion of groups and citizens concerned by this project

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