(Quebec) The opposition does not believe François Legault when he says he does not know the estimated cost of his new sub-river link project reserved for public transport between Quebec and Lévis. The Prime Minister, who is an accountant by training, lacks rigor or makes fun of the population, it is said.

The thorny issue of the third link in the National Capital Region has stuck with the Legault government for days. At opposition press briefings on Thursday, opponents of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) once again criticized Mr. Legault, who claimed the day before that he had not seen any unredacted versions of the studies detailing the cost of its new public transport project.

According to PQ MP Joël Arseneau, “either the Prime Minister is showing an absolutely aberrant lack of rigor, or he is making fun of us,” he said.

“I can’t imagine the Prime Minister, in the line of duty, with the current crisis in his caucus, [telling us] that he hasn’t done his basic homework to look behind the redaction […]. I find that inconceivable,” Mr. Arseneau added.

Étienne Grandmont, MP for Québec solidaire (QS) in the riding of Taschereau, in downtown Québec, also doubts the sincerity of François Legault.

“I find that absolutely stunning. […] I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe that the premier of Quebec, in his meeting with his chief of staff and Geneviève Guilbault, when they decided to abandon the third link for another [project], I can’t believe that the issue of the cost was not addressed,” he said.

According to Frédéric Beauchemin, of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), “we cannot think of making promises without having taken the time to do the analyses, taken the time to do the calculations [and] to have all the data”.

“It’s concerning because it demonstrates another thing that seems to have been the CAQ’s way of doing business for a little while: it’s a little bit messy,” he said.

“I don’t believe it. […] It’s willful blindness,” continued fellow MP Madwa-Nika Cadet.

Last week, the CAQ government abandoned its flagship promise in the Quebec region, namely to build a third highway link between the capital and Lévis, on the South Shore, due to a drop in traffic on existing bridges. , but also due to a strong push in costs.

This broken promise sent shockwaves through the Chaudière-Appalaches region and within the CAQ caucus. In addition to the mayor of Lévis, who clearly showed his dissatisfaction last week, the business community of this region is asking Quebec to reconsider its decision.

For his part, François Legault reiterated that he does not know the estimated cost of his new promise of a tunnel reserved for public transport, even if the figure is in a study made public by his government while being redacted.

“No, I don’t know him,” he said in a scrum before Question Period in the Blue Room. He says he didn’t ask. “Because it’s a rough estimate,” the prime minister pleaded. “And what I want is to see what form public transit will take and what the route will be,” he added, speaking of buses, a metro, “a REM like Montreal” – so an automated train – or bus. As for the route, the government repeated that it will be “downtown to downtown”.

There is also a “risk” in disclosing an estimated cost, as there will eventually be a call for tenders, Mr. Legault argued. However, it is common to quantify the estimated invoice for a project.

“The possibility” of a tunnel reserved for public transport has been analyzed “briefly” in recent months, and more details are needed before advancing a cost. Despite everything, he makes this project a commitment.

The minister responsible for Chaudière-Appalaches and deputy for Lévis, Bernard Drainville, wants this project to be “in progress” as soon as the next election, in 2026, which would involve placing it on a very fast track rarely seen for such infrastructure.