Ottawa takeover of Quebec Bridge: Legault government blocks transaction

Honestly, Quebec just crossed a red line at this pointdeplores a source familiar with the matter.

According to information from Radio-Canada, an agreement to transfer ownership of the Quebec Bridge has indeed been reached between Canadian National (CN) and the Trudeau government in recent days.

After several months of negotiations, the NC had agreed to pay compensation to Ottawa over 50 years, who in return agreed to become the sole owner of the structure and ensure its sustainability.

However, the Quebec government, as the primary tenant of the bridge, has a right of first refusal that allows it to consider any offer to buy the bridge that is received NC. After the analysis, he is free to adjust it.

For an undisclosed reason, the Quebec government exercised its right of inspection for several days to prevent the transaction.

Yvon Charest has the mandate to negotiate the purchase of the Quebec Bridge for the federal government.

Photo: Radio Canada

According to several people contacted by Radio-Canada, federal negotiator Yvon Charest has in the last few hours asked Quebec to leave the field open to Ottawa to facilitate the transaction.

Quebec would have refused immediately.

Everyone knows that the Quebec government doesn’t want to own the bridgeour source laments. Obviously this is a strategy to pull out the file.

Yvon Charest reiterated his incomprehension on Thursday morning at the broadcast’s microphone First hour.

What I find unfortunate is that this is a file that has been discussed for 15 years and everyone thought the hard part was going to be CNhe started.

The offices of the prime minister and transport minister declined to comment on Radio-Canada’s information.

The apron, nothing more

The Quebec government’s position in these negotiations is well known: the Ministere des Transports intends to limit its contribution solely to replacing the bridge deck, which has reached the end of its useful life.

However, the investment, estimated at $200 million, does not cover repair work on the structure, which is essential to ensure the structure’s durability.

For years, the Quebec Bridge has been corroded by rust. It needs to be repainted and restored.

Corrosion on the Quebec Bridge.

Corrosion gnaws at the Quebec Bridge.

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Francois Nadeau

A 2020 appraisal put the work at $784 million, but all indications are that the bill is higher today.

An agreement is coming to an end

With a daily traffic of over 30,000 vehicles, the Ministère des Transport remains the primary user of the Quebec Bridge.

the MTQ pays $7 million in annual rent to Canadian National under an agreement signed in 2012 that expires next month.

Freight train on the Quebec Bridge.

CN trains operate on the Quebec Bridge.

Photo: Radio Canada

According to our information, Ottawa wanted to become the owner of the Quebec Bridge before negotiating a new agreement with the main user.

From a federal perspective, an increase in the rent paid by Quebec would be essential to ensure the restoration of heritage infrastructure.

The negotiator, Yvon Charest, points out that the return on the investment would be favorable for Quebec.

For every additional dollar requested from Quebec, Ottawa will provide two dollars. This is new money for the regionhe says.

The Pierre Laporte Bridge is worrying

The impasse in the Quebec Bridge negotiations comes at a time when the condition of its neighbor, the Pierre Laporte Bridge, is of concern.

Last June, Radio-Canada revealed the existence of a report which concluded that the infrastructure’s 160 hangers all needed to be replaced quickly, as their carrying capacity had been significantly reduced due to age.

The suspension lines of the Pierre Laporte Bridge.

The replacement of the suspension cables of the Pierre Laporte Bridge is accelerated.

Photo: Radio Canada

Earlier this month, an emergency, no-bid, $8 million contract was awarded by the Department of Transportation to perform work on 28 infrastructure hangers.

A total of 40 lines will be consolidated or completely replaced by the end of the year.

the MTQ ensures the safety of the Pierre Laporte Bridge. Around 120,000 vehicles use it every day.

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