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The Blue Line: Expropriation bill inflates a billion dollars

The Blue Line: Expropriation bill inflates a billion dollars

However, these have exploded in recent years. The fault, in particular, is with the expropriation budget which was clearly underestimated at first, but also diverged due to the overheating of the properties.

According to Radio Canada information, the total cost of purchasing this land necessary to implement this project has increased by about one billion dollars compared to the initial budget. Several sources familiar with the matter confirmed the astonishing increase and the difficult discussions with Quebec.

Currently, according to estimates by the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), $ 1.2 billion is needed to acquire these sites. In 2015, $ 340 million was mentioned in the first opportunity file released by the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (AMT).

Project deferred until 2027 or 2028

Originally scheduled for 2026, The extension of the blue line will be delayed further. However, no new timeline has been mentioned publicly.

However, in documents obtained by Radio Canada, written by STM, there is talk of a delay that could occur It varies from 6 to 20 months. This delay would lead to Additional costs ranging from $ 80 million to $ 230 millionIs it specific. In this analysis, this has been emphasized The project costs increase by about $ 15 million for every new month of delay.

Various levels of government have already committed to expanding the Blue Line, such as Justin Trudeau, along with Regional Minister Chantal Rollo, in 2019.

Photo: Radio Canada / Ivano Demers

Unplanned land purchase

To explain this law which has nearly quadrupled, several reasons have been cited. In the various documents that Radio Canada has obtained, and which STM has drafted in recent months, there is talk of a Underrated Initial costs of around 500 confiscated files managed jointly by the Department of Transportation and STM.

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Costly delays are also thrown.

STM was initially supposed to acquire 50 pieces in the fall of 2020 in order to meet the main project schedule. This delay has already caused an increase of more than $ 300 million in the project’s estimated costs.

Quote from:An excerpt from a briefing from STM dated November 19, 2020

To implement this project, large, unplanned acquisitions must now be taken into account due to legal challenges. for example, STM was forced to confiscate it entirely The grounds of the Le Boulevard shopping center, in the Saint-Léonard neighborhood, were its owner opposing partial expropriation.

There are still similar problems in other sectors and compensation must also be paid to the merchants, we are told, while insisting, at the same time, on the sharp increase in real estate prices in the city, without counting the high costs of materials.

In these documents, STM also specifies that it is not responsible for these forfeits and the prices generated. The [ministère des Transports] It acts as a responsible ministry and as a subcontractor to the main contractor for the purchase of the land. However, the Ministry’s expropriation officials have no obligation or obligation to perform in terms of the project manager’s schedule.Can we read in a briefing from STM.

Quebec should review seizure budget, STM responds

Improvement recommendations In preparation, says the STM spokesperson. A working group has been formed and proposals will be made By the end of June To the government. We confirm that we have informed our partners that the submitted envelope must be reviewed to obtain the necessary parts for the extension of the Blue Line. This is also one of the factors that prompted us to propose the formation of a committee of experts.STM adds.

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Less elevators, more savings

The cost of expropriation has now become the main obstacle to this extension, in business since 1979, which provides for the construction of five new stations.

The Legault government recently asked Montreal to fully review this project’s budget, now estimated at 6.1 billion, against 3.9 billion in 2015, before revising to 4.5 billion the following year. This is an increase of 1.6 billion from what is called Reference project.

many Savings Methods Already submitted to the Quebec Department of Transportation. A new report must be submitted by summer.

According to our information, the planned 1,200-square-foot, underground incentive car park in Anjou has already been removed from the project. $ 140 million has been saved in the budget.

The other solutions were mentioned by STM in a document dated November 2020, of which we had a copy. For example, STM proposes to reduce the number of escalators and elevators to save another hundred million.

Possible solutions suggested by STM

  • Increasing the number of escalators from 47 to 31: saving $ 55 million
  • Reducing the number of elevators to 3 per station: $ 64 million
  • Reduce Envision Platinum Certification to Lesser: $ 50 Million

Sources also talk about reviewing the number of entrance buildings to be built and reaching an agreement with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to finance the latter for the structure that will host a future joint terminal with REM of the Is. .

Extension of the Blue Line of the Montreal Metro.

Five new stations are planned as part of the extension of the Blue Line, but STM is studying the possibility of reducing this number.

Photo: Radio Canada

More housing to build?

Concerned about the future of the projectMayor Valerie Blunt’s team wrote to Prime Minister Francois Legault at the end of last year to remind him of the importance of the extension.

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At the start of the year, and in a confidential report, the city also presented to the government various ideas to make this mega investment profitable. Montreal proposes building 13,000 housing units In the corridor Of this extension, including 2,500 above Five new stations.

At the discretion of the municipality, Sale of air rights For these constructions It could generate $ 56.3 million in revenue, to which would be added potential revenue of $ 30.8 million in transfer fees.

Radio Canada was told that negotiations were underway. The design of the new stations should take these possibilities into consideration. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible, later, to build the buildings over the stationsThis report supports.

The city, for its part, is currently refusing to reduce the number of stations. For its part, STM has already prepared, in accordance with a future Quebec decision, alternative scenarios including, among others, the construction of only four stations.

Is this a request from the Legault government? In an interview with Radio Canada, the minister in charge of the city, Chantal Rollo, remains cautious.

Our goal is five stops. It is normal to conduct evaluations in the context of a budget.

Quote from:Chantal Rollo, Minister Responsible for the Capital

According to the Caquist-elect and former mayor of Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough, the project is Not at risk, Even if it does have to be executed from now on using Budget of 4.5 billion Originally planned.

“We’ve got the train back on track,” she says. We want the extension to be within budget and on time.