A Quebec study conducted by the Montréal Institute for Research in Contemporary Economics (IREC) (Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine) has established in 2010 the construction costs of the suspended monorail to be 12 M$ per kilometer between Montréal and Québec (a distance of some 250 km) and 9M$/km for subsequent lines, which is approximately three times less than the French TGV. (For details see L'électrification du transport collectif: un pas vers l'indépendance énergétique du Québec » (IREC), page 63) And this, for several reasons.
A CONCEPT THAT MINIMISES CONSTRUCTION COSTS
First of all, the lightness of the motor-wheel combined to its great power (one motor-wheel is more powerful than a Corvette motor) makes it such that each vehicle, as well as the infrastructure that upholds the vehicles, can be relatively light in structure. This feature alone lowers construction costs. Furthermore, access to un-used and cost free land, such as the flat strips between highways and other accessible corridors, tends to reduce considerably the costs of land expropriation.
Circulating at ten meters above the ground or more allows the monorail to pass over highway viaducts, whereas a TGV which requires a bridge. The monorail can go up and down hills, thus reducing the need to construct bridges, viaducts or tunnels which are normally required by regular trains. To cross a river, the lightness of the infrastructure permits it to be fixed to an existing bridge.
Travelling at a certain height also eliminates the need to modify the travel space in large cities. A minimum of rearrangement will ne necessary.
In addition, producing the parts for the infrasructure and vehicles will be economic and rapid, especially if they are produced in a robotized factory 12 months a year.
Finally, the construction of the infrastructure and vehicles requires conventionnal technology, which is accessible in most countries.
Maintenance costs will also be minimal. The steel infrastructure will be protected from corrosion and guaranteed to last more than a hundred years, like most steel bridges.
With the robustness of the motor-wheels and their lightness (see Motor-wheel), as well as the durability of the vehicles, the costs of maintenance of this transportation system will be relatively low.
The rails and the motor-wheels are protected by a continuous steel covering which eliminates the accumulation of snow or ice. In other words, there will be no transport delays due to any cilmate change in winter.
The operating costs will also be relatively low, since the electric energy required to power a single vehicle will be minimal. For example, the electrical costs for one vehicle to travel between Montréal and Québec (250km) would be approximately 40 $ (7¢ kWh) which is equivalent to 70¢ per passenger.
Operating costs of the system will also be low since they will be controlled electronically. However, the rubber tires will have to be changed on a regular basis.