Patrice Bergeron, The Canadian Press
QUEBEC CITY — The federal government lacks “compassion” toward the citizens of Lac-Mégantic, who are still waiting for a bypass, almost 10 years after the train disaster that killed 47 people.
The Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet thus deplored on Tuesday the delays and the explosion of costs in the realization of this route which would bypass the downtown area of the municipality ravaged in the summer of 2013 by the explosion of the train of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic.
Last week, the Legault government regretted being left out of the file when it must assume 40% of the bill and the costs have exploded.
“It puts me a little cursed,” said Yves-François Blanchet, in a press scrum at Quebec City Hall, where he met Mayor Bruno Marchand.
According to the Bloc leader, the Méganticois have the right to obtain this bypass. He accuses successive federal governments of dragging things out and postponing decisions to subsequent terms.
“One Minister of Transport after another in Ottawa stretches and dithers, with a dramatic lack of compassion for the citizens of Lac-Mégantic,” thundered Mr. Blanchet.
In 2018, the cost of the railroad diversion was estimated at $133 million, but the Trudeau government earmarked $237 million in its latest budget.
“If we want it to stop costing more, well, let’s go crazy and do it,” he lamented.
Last week, during an announcement in a factory in Lac-Mégantic, Prime Minister François Legault had urged the federal government to quickly bring the file to a conclusion and to negotiate tightly with the Canadian Pacific Railway.
He had said he was struggling to get “updated cost information”. He added that his government “is open to looking at the file to contribute more”, once it has obtained all the figures.
The new railway line would bypass downtown Lac-Mégantic. It would be 12.5 km long and would pass through Nantes, the outskirts of Lac-Mégantic and Frontenac.
On July 6, 2013, a train of tank cars filled with oil parked in Nantes, high up, rolled down a long slope due to the failure of its braking system and derailed in the curve which crosses the city center of Lac- Mégantic, causing the explosion of the cars which collided.