The CAQ unveils its “little revolution” to build faster, for less

Jonatan Julien and Geneviève Guilbault presented their new strategy to accelerate the construction of public infrastructure and reduce costs, which will be “a small revolution” to land more projects, they promise.

As explained in an interview given to our Parliamentary Office last Saturday, the bill aimed at the creation of Mobilité Infra Québec (MIQ) is a step towards the realization of the agency project on which Mme Guilbault has been working since his appointment at the helm of the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility.

This new government agency, which Mme Guilbault hopes to see it born in 2025, will have a budget of $6 million the first year, then an annual operating budget of around $9.5 million thereafter, said the Deputy Prime Minister during of a press conference outside parliament.

Stevens LeBlanc/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

Initially made up of 30 to 50 experts, MIQ should first focus on carrying out major public transport projects.

“For me, at the moment, the most urgent needs are: Quebec, the east of Montreal, the South Shore of Montreal,” underlined Mr.me Guilbault.

  • Listen to the interview with Martin Damphousse, president of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec and mayor of Varennes, via QUB :

In addition to these “three projects […] more pressing,” the minister is also thinking of Gatineau and Sherbrooke, which will be able to benefit from centralized expertise.

The text of the Deputy Prime Minister’s legislative document also confirms that MIQ’s main mission will be to analyze, plan and carry out, at the request of the government, any complex transport project, which may include road projects. .

Bill 61 also stipulates that MIQ will have the possibility of creating subsidiaries, “for a more specialized team” or for a specific project, explained M.me Guilbault. “We drew a lot of inspiration from what is done elsewhere,” she emphasized, naming Ontario and British Columbia, which have adopted the same type of tool.

Julien wants more prefab

For his part, the Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Jonatan Julien, announced the deployment of the new Quebec Public Infrastructure Strategy.

The objective set by his government is to build 25% faster, for 15% less expensive.

To achieve this, Mr. Julien wants to involve the private sector more in carrying out projects, in particular by sharing more risks. Bill 62 thus introduces a new type of contract into the Act respecting contracts by public bodies, namely the partnership contract.

Mr. Julien also wants to accelerate the government’s process of authorization and monitoring of major projects and reduce the administrative burden on public organizations.

“Yes, it’s a revolution. Yes, it’s a culture change. Yes, it is a change of approach, but it does not bring more risks because currently we are paying for all the risk, whether it materializes or not,” argued Mr. Julien.


Stevens LeBlanc/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

The minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale is also considering making greater use of prefabrication, for example for the construction of schools.

“The use of prefabricated materials actually allows for more predictability, more volume” and “reduces costs,” explained the elected CAQ representative from Charlesbourg. This in no way compromises the “beautiful schools” promised by his party, he assured journalists. “It would be to assume that what is prefabricated is not beautiful. I don’t think that’s the case, quite the contrary,” replied Mr. Julien.

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, said he welcomed the project of a future transport agency. “A priori, I am open. I can’t wait to see the details. I am leaving with a lot of openness,” he maintained, insisting on the fact that the agency will have to deliver the projects quickly.

– With the collaboration of Taïeb Moalla

The four axes of the Quebec Public Infrastructure Strategy:

  • optimized planning, overall and by project;
  • a more competitive business environment;
  • a more agile state;
  • better monitoring of the performance of major projects and the state of the fleet.

Some reactions:

“The action plan proposes a revolution long demanded by the industry in the way of approaching the construction and management of infrastructure in Quebec.”
– Caroline Amireault, lawyer and general director of the Association Québécoise des Entrepreneurs en Infrastructure (AQEI)

“We should also not wait for the implementation of the agency to press on the accelerator of public transport projects, particularly the one that we have been waiting for too long in Quebec City.”
– Marc-André Viau, director of government relations at Équiterre

“Involvement of key stakeholders from the start of the project, more equitable risk sharing and a less prescriptive framework are changes that offer the most interesting potential to promote innovation and optimization in infrastructure projects.”
– Bernard Bigras, CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Firms of Quebec (AFG)

“At first glance, certain provisions appear to be very worrying for the STM. […] Not only does the proposed bill not take into account the STM’s requests to promote the real estate development of the sites, but it adds constraints which will limit the ability of transport companies to generate real estate income.
– Kevin Bilodeau, corporate advisor at the STM

“At first glance, the roles and responsibilities in terms of public transportation planning in the greater Montreal region will have to be clarified soon. We will actively participate in future consultations on the subject.”

– Isabella Brisson-Urdaneta, Advisor, public affairs and media relations at the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM)

“After having delivered no project in 6 years of mandate, the status quo of the CAQ is no longer acceptable, we must put projects on track. What I fear, however, is that this new agency will be a quick path to the privatization of our public transport and that it will end up costing users a fortune. »

– Etienne Grandmont, spokesperson for Québec solidaire in matters of Transport

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