Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão tabled his government’s fifth budget on March 27. Here are the salient points according to CAA-Quebec.
A shot in the arm for public transit
The Liberal government has confirmed three public transit megaprojects in which it will invest the tidy sum of $13.5 billion: the extension of the Montreal métro’s blue line, the Réseau express métropolitain light-rail network, and the Quebec City tramway project for which the government will “oversee” the interconnection with Lévis.
CAA-Quebec views these investments positively, as the projects have great potential to reduce traffic congestion. Sustainable mobility involves a range of solutions, which include efficient, well-performing and comfortable public transit networks. Obviously, CAA-Quebec also believes that maintaining an efficient and safe road network must remain a priority.
Massive infrastructure investments
Hospitals, schools, roads… The government has taken a huge step forward with infrastructure investments in excess of $100 billion over 10 years. Roadwork continues to garner the biggest slice of the pie, which is essential given the maintenance deficit, a problem that is even more severe outside major centres. To that end, the government is injecting $250 million over five years, but—as the CAA-Quebec annual Worst Roads campaign reminds us—the needs far exceed that amount.
Several projects will be studied soon, the government promises, although any ground-breaking ceremonies are still a long way off. Here are a few of them:
- A bridge over the Saguenay River at Tadoussac (project office)
- Two extensions of Route 138, in Basse-Côte-Nord, the only inhabited region of Quebec that is not accessible by road
- Improvements to the Laurentian Autoroute between Lebourgneuf and Croix-Rouge
- A “third link” between Quebec City and Lévis
- An interchange before the bridges in Quebec City
- Major repairs to the Metropolitan Expressway
- Reconstruction of the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge
- Reserved lanes on Autoroute 15
- Widening of Autoroute 30 between the 10 and the 20
- Improvements to Autoroute 50 between Gatineau and Mirabel
- Extension of Autoroute 19
Cheaper airfares on the way?
The Couillard government is pledging to invest $73 million toward lowering the cost of airfares to destinations in Quebec’s regions, to incite Quebecers to explore the province. CAA-Quebec has often criticized the exorbitant cost of regional air travel, and intends to closely follow implementation of this measure.
The return of RénoVert
The RénoVert renovation assistance program is extended for another year. This program is beneficial to homeowners, and CAA-Quebec’s Residential Advisory Services will be happy to provide more information about it.
Additional financial assistance for first-time homebuyers
The Liberal government will introduce new financial assistance for the purchase of a first home. Some expenses, like the cost of inspection and the property transfer fee, will be eligible for a tax credit of up to $750.
Help for victims of dry rot and pyrrhotite
These are two serious problems for which Quebec is planning additional aid. $5 million will be invested over three years to help homeowners facing problems with dry rot.