January 29, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel: Quebec not aware of congestion costs

Quebec does not estimate the costs of road congestion for the L.-H.-La Fontaine tunnel project, which will not be completed before 2025 and will cause major traffic congestion.

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The costs of traffic congestion include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants emitted from traffic congestion. Added to this are costs associated with motorists being late to work, wasting petrol or accelerated vehicle wear (tires and repairs).

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“The Ministry of Transport has not made this assessment,” notes its spokesman Gilles Bayer.

According to him, GHG emissions depend on people’s “response” to various “Plan Bs” including public transport or telecommunications. The government says it will invest more than $150 million in measures to ease traffic congestion.

The ministry adds that it has been working “for several years” to coordinate these measures.

Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel: Quebec not aware of congestion costs

Photo by Thierry Laforce, QMI Agency

Statistics… 2008

Over the years, studies have assessed the costs of road congestion in the metropolis. The latest available ratings date from 2018 and are included in LesAdvisors ADEC’s report prepared for the City of Laval. In this report, the total cost is estimated at $4.2 billion.

This report actually establishes an assessment based on an assessment by the same company carried out for the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) in 2014, but with data from 2008. At the time, Congestion 1 was valued at $8 billion, and Montreal took more than half the pie.

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These studies do not describe the impacts to each infrastructure.

In the past, MTQ conducted a study on congestion costs every five years. By comparing data from 1993 to 2018, it is calculated that congestion costs in the Montreal region have increased by more than 500%.

Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel: Quebec not aware of congestion costs

Photo by Thierry Laforce, QMI Agency

“We don’t want to know”

“The pattern is improving year by year, which may explain some of the inconsistencies, but the trend is clearly upward, and it’s growing much faster than GDP,” it explains. Register President of Les Conseils ADEC, Gilles Joubert, then Gilles Joubert, Conseils.

“This is normal, no new infrastructure is being built and public transport projects are being delayed. So it is not subject to improvement,” he adds.

The latest accurate data comes from 2008, Mr. Joubert lamented.

“There doesn’t seem to be an appetite for the new reality of congestion and especially costs […] Maybe we don’t want to know, he said. I’m surprised and a little saddened by this.

A carbon neutral objective is maintained

Even though the work on the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel is larger than expected, MTQ ensures that the site remains carbon neutral.

That is, carbon credits are purchased to offset GHGs emitted during tree planting or construction.

Car traffic and congestion are not included in this calculation and continue to be the real source of pollution.

The tunnel construction site is one of seven carbon-neutral projects planned by MTQ over the next few years. To date, the Turquot interchange is the only site in Quebec that is carbon neutral.

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Since work began 18 months ago, [le consortium responsable] RLF calculates 4500 tonnes of CO2 are equivalent,” notes ministry spokesman Gilles Bayer.

This is equivalent to the GHG emissions of about 2,000 cars in a year.

To plant trees

To offset these emissions, it would already be necessary to plant about 31,500 trees, according to an offset calculator from the Carbon Boreal Research Group at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi. The consortium can also purchase carbon credits from a green project.

“The longer the site lasts, the better it will be, and then the compensation will be adjusted accordingly, very simply,” Mr. Bayer notes.

GHG offsetting is more complicated than it seems. As demonstrated Newspaper Last year, the carbon neutrality of Turcotte Exchange was problematic. It will take a century for the 51,000 trees planted or soon to be planted to actually offset the emissions produced during the work.

In theory, carbon credits help reduce GHGs because they are purchased from projects that produce renewable energy.

However, in the case of the Turcot transfer, most of the compensation was done by buying credits from a hydropower project in India, which caused many environmental impacts. Newspaper.