Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a tighter budget, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio still seems committed to the BQX streetcar project.
The mayor refused to say the project, an 11-mile light rail line connecting Red Hook and Astoria, was going to go on the chopping block when questioned about it recently, even though there is no new money marked for the $2.7 billion project and the environmental review process has not begun. Mayor de Blasio did say the streetcar project would require a substantial amount of federal funding, but says “it has to be considered now as part of our budget process.”
When the endeavor was pitched back in 2016, the hope was it would pay for itself based on revenue generated by development along the route. Two years later, it was announced the project would need at least $1 billion in federal money.
Opponents want the city to ditch the streetcar project in favor of dedicated bus lanes and a more expansive bike network. New York City, however, is ready to cut other line items from the budget as long as it keeps the streetcar initiative alive, COVID-19 pandemic or not.
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