(Quebec) With her new project for a public transit link between Quebec and Lévis, Geneviève Guilbault wants to “give people a taste for giving up the car”, promote urban densification and curb solo driving. As for the highway tunnel, which would have cost nearly 10 billion, there was no data that justified its construction, she acknowledged.

“For those who live here, we’ve never really had a public transport offer other than buses”, launched the Minister of Transport Thursday, during an expected press conference where she explained the abandonment of the CAQ electoral promise to build a motorway tunnel.

She acknowledged that the studies commissioned by the government did not justify the construction of a highway tunnel between the two cities, and that the pandemic and the arrival of teleworking have reduced traffic on the two bridges. Last year, François Legault said that the maximum price of this motorway tunnel was 6.5 billion. Ms. Guilbault acknowledged that it would have cost 9.5 to 10 billion instead.

“You have to make responsible decisions. […] Politically, it is difficult for my 15 colleagues [from the Quebec and Lévis regions] and me. […] I have very affected colleagues,” she explained.

But she also made a plea for “attractive sustainable mobility” and against solo driving. “The modal share of the car continues to gain ground in Quebec. […] It is not likely to be reversed if we do not have a different and attractive public transport offer,” she said.

However, by “having a really efficient public transport tube between our two shores, we were cannibalizing the road tunnel”.

It therefore chose the solution of an “exclusive public transport tunnel” to “promote modal shift”.

Unlike her predecessor François Bonnardel, who considered urban densification a “fad”, Ms. Guilbault made it a goal. Its tunnel exclusive to public transit will make it possible to “curb the growth of automobile traffic on the intershore links”, to “promote the densification of the central cores of the north shore and the south shore” and to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse “.

But the project is not advanced. We do not know its cost, nor its route, nor the mode of public transport that will circulate there. Minister Guilbault will provide an update “eventually”.

The day before, Prime Minister François Legault had already explained his “difficult decision, but you have to understand that the situation has changed a lot”.

Last September, during the election campaign, Mr. Legault said, however, that it was “obvious” that a third link was necessary given the development of the two cities and the traffic in the region despite the absence of studies to support its tunnel project.