Future of de Blasio’s $2.5B BQX streetcar at risk

Posted On Wed, April 4, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, April 4, 2018 By In Policy, Transportation

Photo courtesy of Friends of the BQX

With the unveiling of its inaugural prototype last fall, things were looking up for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, a proposed light-rail trolley that would run 16-miles along the East River between the two boroughs. The Friends of the BQX even held an event to show off the ultra-sleek, 46-foot long prototype car. However, studies into the project’s construction feasibility, as well as its ability to pay for itself, are still underway, according to the Daily News. At an event at NYU, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the administration is still determining the project’s ability to be self-funding.

“Assuming that it does not pay for itself…then we have to decide whether or not this is the right use of capital money for a transportation project,” Alicia Glen said during a discussion at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.

Advocates for the streetcar, Friends of the BQX, said the light rail would serve more than 400,000 New Yorkers who live along the proposed routes and 300,000 more who work near them. The streetcar would run along the East River, stopping in neighborhoods like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Industry City and Long Island City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio first backed the project, estimated to cost $2.5 billion, in February of 2016. The mayor has said the project would pay for itself through tax revenue from high real estate values as a result of the streetcar. But an internal memo to Glen last year laid out a tough assessment for the BQX, citing concerns about funding and construction logistics.

According to Glen, a study from outside consultant KPMG should be finished soon. The study is analyzing the property tax revenue the project could generate by block. The deputy mayor also suggested Washington fund part of the transit project.

“The federal government could come up with additional money to do exactly these kinds of cool urban projects that really enhance our mass transit network — that’s the kind of thing the federal government should be doing,” Glen said.

[Via NY Daily News]


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