May 22, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Metropolitan Express Network | Can we still trust CDPQ Infra?

Metropolitan Express Network |  Can we still trust CDPQ Infra?

We should not be surprised, it was the same from the beginning. Last week, CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of CaseQ de dépôt et placement du Québec, which is building R expressseau Express métropolitain (REM), finally published the studies it commissioned and does not necessarily support the discourse that CDPQ is doing.

For over a year, through the voice of CDPQ Infra, REM Project Manager, Jean-Marc Arbard maintained that it was “or impossible” to review the most controversial part of his Eastern REM project, or that it would reach a higher level in Rene. -Lovesque Boulevard between Placeville Mary and Jacques-Cartier Bridge.

The same Mr. Arbad who started Ball Rolling … Let’s politely call it the “lack of transparency” by 2016, during the Public Inquiry into the Environment (BAPE) Office Inquiries from REM. Dukes-Montagnes commuter train passengers have nothing to fear from the West. He concluded that one of the two tracks could be used to run trains to Central Station during rush hour.

The rest we know. The service will be phased out by the end of 2020, causing delays and other major inconveniences to former users of the service. According to the latest deadline, REM will be delivered late somewhere in 2024.

Kais promised that the REM would be delivered “on time and on budget”. We now know that it will not be delivered in a timely manner. And while the CDPQ refuses to tackle infra spending, we know there will be some, and most pessimists talk about a final cost between $ 7 and $ 9 billion, although we are initially talking about $ 6, 3 billion.

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But go back to the current situation. CPDQ Infra stated that it was impossible to build a tunnel under the Rene-Lowesk boulevard for more than a year and that it would also cause buildings in the city center to collapse.

However, studies released last week say building a tunnel can be complicated and expensive, but it is feasible and feasible. And we are no longer talking about the fall, but about the “settlement”.

What is more revealing is that CDPQ Infra has received at least one of these studies for several months and it did not change the Kaise de discourses until last week.

For months, the official version was still impossible to bury the REM and the downtown buildings were in danger of collapsing.

We now propose a 500 meter tunnel downtown from Placeville Marie to Complex Desjardines, open the moat for about 200 meters and climb up to Saint-Urban Station. Further east, conditions in the Montreal underground are so critical that if it is no longer possible, the tunnel will become “unsustainable”.

Is it practical or profitable? We know that the richest and most lucrative part of downtown is the tunnel, but east of the complex Desjardins, if real estate is less attractive, we have to go higher. Beautiful social discussion in perspective.

There is an illustration proposed by one of the two studies and that it is feasible, and that it involves the construction of a tunnel between Placeville Marie and Rue Bercy east of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. More expensive option, but qualified as “feasible and safe”.

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Unless the stations are buried at a depth of 38 meters, it will reduce their attraction to passengers, which will allow CDPQ Infra to refute this scenario.

Yet the Washington DC Metro, the second most used in the United States, has stations 70 meters below the surface. Barcelona’s new metro line 9 has stations up to a depth of 90 meters. REM’s oudouard-Montpetit station, which is already under construction, is 72 meters away.

Of course, this is not so much a technical limitation that it makes CDPQ Infra reject practically all more expensive solutions. This is because it jeopardizes Kaise’s business model and its high demands for profitability.

The REM business model for Western REM (east rate not set) offers a charge of 72 cents per kilometer traveled by each passenger.

REM is therefore all about making sure that its passengers spend as many kilometers as possible in its wagons than other modes of transport. Hence the need to bring these passengers to the city center.

While serving east of Montreal by public transportation is a priority, we can consider bringing more passengers from the metro to the Green Line, which is not used to the maximum. But that is not in the business plan.