PQ looks to form transit agency to take over road work
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 10:10PM EST
QUEBEC CITY -- Saying it’s time for the government to step aside when it comes to building roads, the PQ has tabled a bill to create an arms-length transport agency.
The plan, said Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault, would be for the new agency to take over road work projects, while the department of transport would retain policy control and what he calls the ‘visionary outlook’ on transport and public transit.
“The ministry will keep the role about vision, about law, about rules and the agency will be focused on construction,” said Gaudreault.
The new agency would cost $10 million to set up, a price Gaudreault said is worth the cost.
“With the agency we will save a lot of money for all of Quebec because we will have more flexibility to hire engineers, for example,” he said.
Ninety per cent of Transport Quebec's current employees would move to the agency and because it would be outside the civil service, the agency could pay people better, but also fire them more easily, he explained.
The move is a bad one, said Richard Perron, president of the union that represents government professionals, the Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec.
“The public service law works and to create an agency with no political imputability for us is an opening for a possible invasion of corruption and collusion for the future,” he said.
The opposition parties are also cool to the idea, claiming they aren't sure the new agency would fix any of the real problems that have plagued Transport Quebec.
Liberal party leader Philippe Couillard said he worries about red tape.
“We want to be assured that we’re not creating another huge and very opaque bureaucratic structure,” he said,
The devil is in the details, Couillard added, saying the party will continue to mull over whether it will help pass the bill into law.
The CAQ, however, gave the idea a firm thumbs down.
“It's a sad day today to announce the creation of such an agency when we hear what is happening at the AMT,” said CAQ MNA Jacques Duchesneau, referring to the police anti-corruption unit investigating a contract given by the provincially-appointed AMT transit agency for the Train de l'Est project.
The PQ said the new transport agency will avoid blunders because the law will stipulate that only experts be appointed to its board, signalling the government is fed up with ineffectual agency boards.