the Quebec City tram could cost more

The Auditor General of the City of Quebec is of the opinion that the slowness of the Legault government in approving the route of the tram could inflate the final bill of the structuring project. According to Michel Samson, it may already be too late to avoid cost overruns.

Here is an example of the integration of the tram on rue de la Couronne

© / Quebec City
Here is an example of the integration of the tram on rue de la Couronne

«The more we delay, the more it will cost», Confirms the Auditor General of the City of Quebec, Michel Samson.

In its annual report which includes a “lookoutOn the structuring public transport network project, he assesses the impact of a year of delay on the launch of the project at $ 100 million.

Michel Samson is the Auditor General of the City of Quebec.

© / Radio-Canada
Michel Samson is the Auditor General of the City of Quebec.

When the negotiations drag on

According to Michel Samson, the protracted negotiations between the Coalition d’avenir Québec (CAQ) and the City for the finalization of the route represent a “worry».

«It’s not the project office’s fault, we agree, but it will lead to additional costs», He laments. “We’re gonna have other decisions to make».

As the project budget is limited to 3.3 billion by the government, the auditor estimates that the City of Quebec will have no other choice but to further cut in the scope of the network to alleviate the increase in costs.

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Quebec City plans to start work on the tramway in 2022, but the consortium selection process, which should stretch over one year, cannot begin without the approval of the CAQ.

Risk provisions

Michel Samson also notes that the City has postponed updating its risk provisions in order to take into account possible modifications to the tram route.

In his 2019 report, the auditor characterized the planned contingency reserves as “minimum».

«I think it was wiser to wait until we have the results of the discussions underway with the government», Admits Michel Samson. However, he believes that if the site is to go ahead, the project office will have to review its risk provisions from 2021.

Amendments and communication

The official opposition to the Town Hall is not overly worried about the impact of the delays that accumulate in the tram file, even if the city’s auditor general fears that inflation will inflate costs of the site.

According to Chief Jean-François Gosselin, the Legault government is not to blame for the ongoing negotiations. The delays are rather attributable, according to him, to the mayor Régis Labeaume and to the “package of changes»Brought to the project, including withdrawal of the trambus section in summer 2020 just before the BAPE hearings.

Jean-François Gosselin asks the mayor of Quebec to allow citizens and elected officials to return to city hall for next week's municipal council.

© / Radio-Canada
Jean-François Gosselin asks the mayor of Quebec to allow citizens and elected officials to return to city hall for next week’s municipal council.

«He is the one who does not respect the conditions that everyone knows, the conditions set by the government from the start», He says about the respect of the budget, the service of the suburbs and the connection with the South Shore.

On the side of Democracy Quebec, the leader considers that communication remains the main problem of the town hall with regard to the tramway project. “It seems it’s only in the mayor’s head that it’s clear», Launches Jean Rousseau about the route and the mitigation measures that will be proposed during the work. According to him, the mayor is “a bad seller”, Which has the effect of undermining the social acceptability of the project.

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