The Quebec government announced Friday it will back away from plans to rebuild the Turcot interchange in Montreal through a public-private partnership.
Quebec’s Transport Ministry had originally hoped to save tens of millions of dollars by partnering with the private sector to rebuild the highway interchange. But in a statement released Friday morning, Transport Minister Julie Boulet said the government has crunched the numbers again and decided the public-private partnership (PPP) is no longer such a good idea.The economic situation has changed, Boulet said, and the $100 million in savings originally predicted under a PPP formula would not materialize. By going it alone, the government said, it would have the flexibility needed to carry out the massive project in an efficient and fiscally responsible way.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay had demanded the government abandon their PPP plans, saying it wouldn’t allow enough flexibility for the construction of the $1.5-billion project.
This is the second major project that was supposed to have been financed by the private and public sectors to be modified in the past few months. Premier Jean Charest has repeatedly stood behind the PPP formula but just last month, government officials decided to drop the PPP model for Laval University’s new sports complex construction project.
The Turcot, an aging, elevated interchange that links the Décarie Expressway, Highway 20 and the Ville-Marie Expressway west of downtown Montreal, will be torn down and replaced with a ground-level road system.
Each day about 300,000 drivers use the Turcot interchange.
If the same old Turcot project goes through as a conventionally contracted project, it will still be lousy. Might this announcement serve to try to diffuse the opposition a bit? The Liberals are, after all, still the Car Party.
Oh you bet! Tremblay, for example, can back off and act like some kind of tough guy on principles and the PQ will probably claim some credit as well. But Turcot being a PPP was not the issue for over 100 groups who presented at the BAPE. Hopefully, the momentum from those hearings will lead to some other revelations 😛