Étienne Grandmont, executive director of Access to sustainable transport, expressed regret Friday “the straitjacket fiscal” imposed by the Quebec government in the project of network structuring of Québec.
“This is not common practice to fix the budget before they have completed the technical studies, the preliminary design and the business plan […] Why the government of Québec imposes a straitjacket budget for the project of network structuring of public transport Québec so that it does not for other projects?”, asked Mr. Grandmont, on Friday morning, the last day of the first part of the work of the BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement), on the tram.
The latter added that it is normal and common costs to be adjusted upward “for the benefit of future users” as the progress and “refinement” of this kind of mega-project. He gave the example of REM (express Network métropolitain) in Montreal, whose budget went from $ 5.5 billion to $ 6.5 billion and soon to $7 billion”.
Possible scope extra
Called upon to respond, Mathieu Grondin, director general at Transport Quebec, said that “the project was initially estimated in a budget of $ 3.3 billion (including $ 1.8 billion from the government of Québec). It is always in this envelope, there […] If it is decided to have further scope to the scope that it was decided at the outset, it may be that the costs could be adjusted, but this is not the case at this moment this”.
The latter has added to understand “that there are projects which can exceed the initial costs, but this is not the usual practice. This is not in our own ways. You set a budget at the beginning and then one tries to meet them.”
The return of the morning break, Mr. Grondin has felt the need to clarify that his comments should not be interpreted as “an opening” to increase the budget of the network structure.
“The amount of funding the [government of Quebec] will be $ 1.8 billion. No more. It is a closed envelope, he insisted. Just now, there has been a trade, and I myself can be poorly expressed. I felt that the people had perceived an opening of note hand. But I repeat that this is $1.8 billion.”
It’s a bit convoluted, Mathieu Grondin has added that the opening expressed earlier “was referring to, for example, to the tie-downs that we are going to do possibly with the path of the tunnel Québec-Lévis, if there ever was any impact on the project [tram]”.
For his part, Daniel Genest, director of the project office of the network structuring, has agreed that he “had to make wise choices and heart-wrenching in the last few months to fit into the $ 3.3 billion”. Without these budgetary constraints, the trambus probably would not have been abandoned, he suggested.