Public transportation | Minister Guilbault is “laughing at people”, accuses St-Pierre Plamondon

Minister Geneviève Guilbault makes fun of the population when she says that the government lacks expertise in public transportation, believes PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. According to him, the blame for the tram issue lies with her.

“What happened with the tramway was that the Quebec project office arrived with a detailed project, then the CAQ derailed the project. By his incompetence [la ministre] withdrew the file and began to sketch the tram stations itself, which incurred delays which cost us a fortune due to inflation,” Mr. Plamondon insisted on Tuesday during a melee of press.

For the leader of the PQ, the government “is trying to make us believe that it is the fault of the MTQ, that it is the fault of the civil servants”, when “it is indeed a question here of the incompetence of the minister and her government.”

Mr. Plamondon reacted thus to an interview granted by Guilbault to The Presswhere she argues that the Ministry of Transport is less good at developing public transport projects than at designing roads.

The expertise, according to her, is rather found at CDPQ Infra, a player at the heart of the transport agency project supposed to reduce delays and costs which will be presented at the beginning of next year.

“At the Ministry, they have always built roads and they have the expertise in that,” said Geneviève Guilbault, before adding shortly after that for public transportation, “the fine knowledge to do this kind of project, at least government, it is not currently sufficient.”

A risky mandate?

Between the lines, we easily understand that the role of the Fund would therefore be closely linked to the future agency that the government is preparing. Already, in addition to the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) in Montreal, the subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt has just received two major mandates in Quebec: to propose a scenario for a structuring transport system, the tramway project having been put on ice , and another for the third link.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, for his part, deplores that the decision to entrust two such important projects to CDPQ Infra is insane, but above all risky.

“It’s as if we hadn’t done several studies, as if we hadn’t invested hundreds of millions of dollars in studies for projects that are not taking place. […] The Caisse, what it wants is the profitability of the projects and not the improvement of transport,” he said.

On Monday, Minister Guilbault’s office assured that CDPQ Infra could count on the numerous studies commissioned by the government regarding the third link. Quebec has already paid at least 59 million for analyzes of all kinds.

“It’s really people laughing there. […] This is not serious. It is the incompetence of the CAQ in matters of transport that we are talking about here, nothing to do with the ministry,” the PQ leader continued.

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