The Legault government has three weeks, at most one month. To give the City of Quebec the powers to initiate a call for tenders to carry out work on the future structuring public transport network.
Otherwise, an anti-tramway party brought to power in the 2021 municipal elections will still have plenty of time to derail the project.
“We are ready to take the next step, the call for proposals process. But the authority to take the next step is conditional on two actions by the Quebec government. Once we have that, in due course, we can launch the call for proposals, “established the director of the project office of the structuring public transport network, Daniel Genest, on Tuesday.
Mr. Genest and the Director General of the City of Quebec, Luc Monty. He held a virtual press conference to share their answers to the most recent questions of the Commission of Inquiry of the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) on the $ 3.3 billion project.
Work is due to start in 2022 and schedule commissioning for 2026 and 2027, depending on the section.
In the documents concerning these four new responses sent to the BAPE, there can update schedule of the major milestones of the tram project.
The “call for proposals process” appears on the schedule at the beginning of September 2020. This is followed by “proposal analysis”, “financial close” and “contract signing”. For a crucial streak that spans 12 to 14 months then ends between September and November 2021.
The next municipal elections are scheduled for November 7, 2021.
Before November 7, 2021
“By the time we go out for the call for proposals. It takes 9 to 10 months to receive the proposals and the prices. Between the launch and the confirmation of the chosen private partner, it is 11 to 12 months. There are two more months to sign the contract, brings us to 12 to 14 months, which are difficult to compress, ”calculates Mr. Genest.
Depending on when the government led by François Legault gives its blessing. It will then take 12 to 14 months for the works contract, Therefore the entire project, to be set in stone. The first week of September would ensure that the matter is settled before November 7 next year and the municipal elections.
A wish mentioned publicly in the past by the mayor Régis Labeaume.
The provincial government must do two things. Amend Bill 26 concerning the Quebec tramway in this direction and see its council of ministers authorize the city to carry out the call for tenders in question for such large amounts.
Does a delay in obtaining these two keys jeopardize the project. exposing it directly to the electoral process? “We will see in the future, far from me the idea of intervening in this sphere,” replied Mr. Genest, who avoids getting wet on the political side.
Frost the cake before baking it
In this regard, the leader of the official opposition to Quebec City, Jean-François Gosselin. Does not need to answer very critical of the project since day one. Mr. Gosselin believes this time that “the Labeaume administration wants to put the icing on the cake that is not even bake yet!”
It is an affront to the BAPE commission of inquiry, which must submit its report in November, continues the leader of the Quebec 21 party.
“The government of Quebec must not in any case authorize the City of Quebec to move on to the call for proposals stage before the BAPE submits its report and recommendations in November. ”
No confrontation with the BAPE
As for the reproaches made last week by the BAPE, which accused the City of Quebec of providing “incomplete” outdated answers, MM. Genest with Monty assure that these are normal question-and-answer exchanges that any notion of confrontation between the two entities must get remove.
“Our goal is always to respond as well as possible and as quickly as possible,” assures General Manager Monty. “We were surprised to see that we were suggesting that it was not working, although we always worked well together. We think we’re doing the best we can. We try to meet the deadlines and if we need more time, we try to come to an agreement. “
On the request for confidentiality in the business case, Mr. Monty says it came from Treasury Board, therefore the provincial government.
Among the new documents requested by the BAPE, a fresh ridership study will fill on August 31. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will consider. However, since two researchers from Laval University and the University of Montreal have estimated. That public transport would return to a certain normality within three to five years.