The expansion of the Société de transport de Laval (STL) garage, which will add 145 places reserved for the maintenance and charging of electric buses by 2025, will cost up to 25% more than expected.
“We are facing, like any infrastructure project, cost increases. It’s about 25% to 50% for all projects. We are lucky: we are in the very low range of that, ”said the outgoing general manager of the transport company, Guy Picard, at a press conference on Monday.
The activity marked the official launch of the garage expansion work, which should be completed in 2025. “We are following the schedule exactly, there is no delay for 2025. We have no worries,” However, assured Mr. Picard, when he was questioned about possible delays in the construction site in connection with cost overruns.
At this point, the STL estimates that the work will cost “between 20 and 25%” more than expected. The initial budget, estimated at 246 million, could therefore be increased up to 62 million more, to reach almost 308 million. Quebec and Ottawa are financing 85% of the project.
On site, the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, confirmed Monday that the support of the Legault government is currently 141 million. “We are in the process of having negotiations and discussions with Quebec and Ottawa to attach the financing. We had administrative assurances that the funding will be attached. There will be no surprises for the City of Laval,” assured Guy Picard on this subject.
“We still had a narrow escape. Two-thirds of the contracts have been given. And administratively speaking, we found ways of passage, ”he insisted.
Same for the STM
The file is reminiscent of that of the Bellechasse garage of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), which should cost 584 million, more than twice as much as expected. In November, The Press reported that the STM has asked Montreal elected officials to authorize it to borrow hundreds of millions more to finance the project, which went from a traditional building to an underground building in 2018.
In Laval, there are plans to add 145 spaces reserved for the maintenance and charging of electric buses, once the expansion work is complete. These will also allow the company’s administrative center to be connected to its industrial facilities to form a single large corporate complex at the corner of Cunard Street, with the main entrance on Francis-Hughes Avenue.
By the end of the project, in 2025, the STL will only buy electric buses. And by 2040, it expects to have electrified its entire fleet of around 350 buses. Equipped with electrical inputs with a total power of 20 megawatts, the new complex will have a capacity four times greater than that of the Bell Centre.
” A bus [électrique], after 200 km, it stops”, however mentioned Mr. Picard, in comparison with a gasoline bus which can travel up to 1200 km. “It includes a whole planning, with load management systems. We also need to know where the bus is, in which row, in which position it is. It’s something complex,” he said, speaking of a “long road” towards the complete electrification of public transit on the North Shore.
With Bruno Bisson
- The STL currently only has 10 electric buses from the manufacturer New Flyer, purchased in 2019, and the other 135 service bays will fill up as replacements for current hybrid vehicles reach the end of their useful life.
Laval transport company