The amount of the tolls on the new Champlain Bridge, the impact on other bridges, and the estimated construction cost won't be known for awhile.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel told a news conference updating the business plan for the bridge that more studies and consultation have to be done. While tolls are definitely in the works for the new bridge, officials also couldn't say how it would affect traffic on the other spans.
"For the impact on the other bridges, we're still waiting for more information (...) and we will have to discuss with the municipalities in the future," Lebel said.
Lebel said the toll will definitely not be $7 as suggested by media reports, the minister citing instead the current tolls on Highways 25 and 30. Fares for regular vehicular traffic on the 25 ranges from $1.86 to $2.48, while on the 30, tolls will rise to $1 or $1.50 as of Feb.1.
The business study led by PriceWaterhouseCooper recommends a private-public partnership to build and manage the new bridge, claiming it will save more money down the road. An initial estimate put the cost of the structure at around $3.5-billion.
It also recommends a single level bridge with six lanes of traffic plus a corridor for public transit, including a light rail system, and a path for cyclists and pedestrians.
The process begins with the first phase of the call for construction bidders starting this spring with construction expected to begin in 2015, the bridge still expected to open to traffic in 2018 and final completion in 2020.
Denis Coderre reacts
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said during a news conference Tuesday that the federal government's attitude of holding the community hostage to tolls is not gong to work.
"This bridge is not a new bridge," Coderre said implying that it's a federal responsibility and has been for years.
Installing tolls on the new Champlain should not be at the peril of surrounding communities.
"It's not just a Montreal or a Quebec issue," he said. "Economically, it is an economic issue."
Coderre would have also wished that the federal government all of the 13 scenearios Transport Canada was examining. He said, to date, they've only seen one.
The mayor plans to discuss the new bridge over the Saint-Lawrence, and the toll booth dilemma, with the Prime Minister in a few weeks.