(Quebec) The Legault government has in its possession an estimate of the cost of the public transport tunnel project between Quebec and Lévis, but has redacted this figure in a study made public.

Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault confirmed on Thursday the abandonment of the promise to build a highway tunnel between Quebec and Lévis, and instead proposed a tunnel project reserved for public transport. However, it did not communicate the cost, route or mode of transport.

“We want a tube exclusively dedicated to public transport, but the route, the choice of mode have not yet been fixed, so that will have an impact on the future cost,” he said.

However, a study released the same day and carried out by the Union des rives consortium, mandated by the Ministry of Transport, makes a summary estimate of the project cost of the four options evaluated by the Legault government.

“For the current exercise, we have considered the Tramway option […] combined with the option of an underground Parliament Hill station and storage tracks. It includes Lévis, Saint-Laurent, Vieux-Québec, Vieux-Port, D’Youville, Parliament Hill stations, as well as the junction to the north with the Quebec City tramway project near the Jardins Jean-Paul station. L’Allier,” the document reads.

However, the amounts have been redacted. Ms. Guilbault’s office explained that “the cost information has been redacted so as not to influence any future tendering processes”, but it should be noted that it is customary to present an estimate of the cost of a project when it is announced.

The government expects, with the erection of this tunnel, a traffic of 3,400 people during the morning peak period, compared to 1,500 in 2022.

In this study, signed on April 19, we also learn that the project to build a road tunnel and a second tunnel dedicated to public transport was the one retained “in the conclusions of the update of the opportunity study”, in last March. It was this option that had been fanned by a Radio-Canada report on April 4.

In another study also posted online, the Ministère des Transports considers that “the data and observations explicitly indicate that the effect of telework has little impact on the ridership of the road network and public transport”, unlike what the minister said at a press conference.

“The pandemic, it happened there. So you have to be clear about that. You have to make decisions that are responsible, that are pragmatic, but that are difficult,” she said. “Although related questions will have to be the subject of further studies, the hypothesis adopted is that the result of these studies will not have the effect of calling into question the need for intervention to create a new link between Quebec and Lévis,” says the report, dated March 2023, instead.