QUÉBEC CITY, March 10, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2020‑2030 Québec Infrastructure Plan (QIP), presented today by the Gouvernement du Québec, provides for a historically high level of investment: $130.5 billion over the next 10 years. These sums, an increase of $15.1 billion from the previous QIP, will be invested according to four key priorities: education, public transit, health and culture. In the interest of sound public management, the impact this second substantial increase in investments will have on debt, of which the achievement of targeted reductions has been realized in advance, and public expenditures was taken into account at the time it was established. Moreover within a context of growing economic uncertainity, associated in particular with COVID-19, the Government believes furthermore that it is advisable to increase investments in public infrastructure in order to support the economy.
For the first time, there is a balance between the sums dedicated to public transit and those allocated to the road network, a sign that this QIP is firmly focused on reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change.
The Government is also planning to improve the condition of public infrastructure in the coming years. Overall, taking into account the anticipated impact of the investments provided for in the 2020‑2030 QIP, the proportion of assets in good condition (A, B, C) should increase from 60.8% in 2020 to 70.7% in 2030. The benefits of this critical intervention will be felt for many years, contributing to sustained economic growth in all of Québec's regions.
An ambitious investment program to construct and upgrade Québec schools
First and foremost, additional QIP investments of $5.9 billion have been allocated to the education sector, representing 27.2% of new funding in the 2020‑2030 QIP. This increase brings investments in this sector to almost $19.2 billion over the next decade, 71% of which will be dedicated to renovating and maintaining schools.
These investments will provide Québec with a new generation of modern schools and will restore school infrastructure to good condition. The amounts will primarily serve to set up new spaces in primary and secondary schools and to carry out major renovation, expansion and construction projects in secondary schools, particularly in Greater Montréal.
Investments to meet the needs of health and social services network beneficiaries
An additional sum of $2.9 billion in the 2020‑2030 QIP will be earmarked for health and social services establishments, which brings investments in this sector to $20.5 billion. Among the initiatives that will benefit from these amounts, for their study or planning stage, are modernization projects at several hospitals, including Hôpital de Sept‑Îles and Hôpital Charles‑Le Moyne (mental health component). The Government is also proposing a wide‑reaching plan to overhaul residential and long‑term care centres for seniors and adults with special needs, during which new seniors' residences and alternative residences will be constructed.
Record amounts for public transit and upgrades to the road network
The 2020‑2030 QIP includes $3.3 billion in additional funding for the development of public transit, which brings investments in this sector to $15.8 billion. These funds will notably be used for six projects: three structuring electric public transit projects that are already under study or in the planning stage, and three new projects under study in the 2020‑2030 QIP. These projects will be rolled out in the Montréal, Montérégie, Laval, Capitale‑Nationale and Outaouais regions.
In total, the Government is planning estimated investments of $43.8 billion in public transit, including the potential participation of financial partners. These record amounts, which will be required for the delivery of these projects, attest to the Government's will to prioritize this sector in the years ahead. The Government will ensure the coordination and leadership of these projects, which will offer new opportunities to Quebecers that will allow them to travel while contributing to the efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
It should be noted that the 2020‑2030 QIP calls for several investments aimed at reducing traffic congestion in urban arterial roads, which include continuing the project to extend the Montréal métro's blue line, acquiring new AZUR métro cars to replace certain cars in the network and adding the use of bypass shoulders by buses and dedicated bus lanes.
The Government considers it to be equally important to continue to invest in the current road infrastructure to improve its condition, reduce its asset maintenance deficit, ensure user safety, and promote the use of various modes of public transit. Thus, in the long term, investments in road network infrastructure are estimated at $42.5 billion in the 2020‑2030 QIP and future QIPs.
Taking into account the additional investment of $2.7 billion for the road network sector, a total of $26.8 billion is planned in the 2020‑2030 QIP for this sector, of which $22.3 billion or 83% of total investments is for infrastructure maintenance ($20.2 billion in the 2019‑2029 QIP).
Substantial investments in Québec culture
Culture is among the other sectors that will benefit from additional investments, with $394.0 million earmarked for cultural infrastructure development initiatives. Heritage buildings in various regions of Québec will be acquired, restored, redeveloped and converted and will primarily be used as hubs of cultural outreach, creation and mediation.
Greater transparency in infrastructure projects of $20.0 million or more
Since July 2018, the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor has published information on its website about infrastructure projects worth $50 million or more. For the first time, under the 2020‑2030 QIP, information regarding infrastructure projects worth $20 million or more will be included. In 2020‑2021, the Tableau de bord des projets d'infrastructure will also be enhanced to allow for better public accountability.
"This second Québec Infrastructure Plan was developed to meet the needs of Quebecers from a sustainable development standpoint. Our efforts and the bold action we have demonstrated over the past year have generated the desired outcome. We are more determined than ever to step up our efforts in order to boost Québec's social and economic prosperity. Furthermore, recent fluctuations in the global economy have confirmed that the time is right to invest in our infrastructure. In addition to helping to maintain a strong economy, the huge investments planned in the 2020‑2030 QIP are intended to actively contribute to combatting climate change while addressing the obsolescence of our assets. I am certain these investments will help us achieve our vision of a greener and prouder Québec."
Christian Dubé, Minister responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du trésor
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre responsable de l'Administration gouvernementale et président du Conseil du trésor
For further information: Source: Myrian Marotte, Press Attaché, Office of the Minister responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du trésor, Tel.: 418 643‑5926; Information: Jean Auclair, Media Relations, Direction des communications, Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor, Tel.: 418 643‑2001, ext. 4064