The route for the 3rd Link presented by the Coalition Avenir Quebec is like a rabbit pulled out of a hat, affirmed Liberal Critic for Transport, Mr. Gaétan Barrette. In the past, the government had categorically refused consider such an option, having even presented a completely eastbound route. It’s quite the 180-degree turn that we are witnessing here.
Last June, the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel presented an eastbound route that connected Beauport to Lévis at the Route Lallemand exit. When naysayers demanded that other options be considered, he responded, “We have studied some ten routes before arriving at the one that we have selected.” The Minister excluded the new intervention zone route which had been identified last June.
The Official Opposition, which supports the 3rd Link, has spent the last year asking to hear from the director of the 3rd Link Project Bureau so that citizens could have a clearer portrait of this massive project. The CAQ has always refused.
Yesterday, a new route was presented without providing any additional details, which is completely unacceptable, especially as this new scenario is generating a great deal of questions. The MNA representing La Pinière is far from convinced that this route will reduce traffic. He is concerned about bottlenecks at the tunnel’s exit on the Quebec City side.
Mr. Barrette also believes that this route will lead to dezoning many agricultural lands on the Lévis side. The sector of Route Bourget where the tunnel would end isn’t particularly developed at present, but the tunnel will undoubtedly generate significant commercial, industrial and residential development.
Minister Bonnardel lied. Last June he told us that the Eastbound route was the best of all options. His colleague Geneviève Guilbault even suggested that the idea of a more central route was ridiculous. Today, in a theatrical twist we are presented with a new option. It’s far from reassuring. We are talking about a project that is worth billions of dollars. Can we be transparent and provide citizens with a real portrait of what is going on? Bonnardel needs to submit the costs, timeline and business plan related to this new route, as well as the one that he preferred in June. The improvisation in this file needs to stop. In a project of this magnitude, when a concept is presented without unveiling the technical details it is because something is being concealed. We are demanding a meeting with the project director, not only to gain access to his data, but also to compare it with the purportedly definitive version that François Bonnardel presented in June of 2018.
–Gaétan Barrette, Liberal Critic for Transport.