The Brooklyn-Queens Connector is still alive, but the plan has gotten slightly less ambitious.
The project will now have a shorter route, cost more to build, and not arrive for more than 10 years, according to the New York Times. It will also require a $1 billion investment from the federal government.
The city has spent the past two years working on its streetcar plan and released its revised vision for the project on Thursday. The project will now cost $2.73 billion, and streetcars should be running by 2029. In the initial plan, the estimated cost was $2.5 billion with 2024 as the estimated start date.
The route will consist of 26 stops along 11 miles from Gowanus to Astoria, scrapping the previous plan to extend it farther south in Brooklyn to Sunset Park. The streetcar would handle an estimated 50,000 riders each day.
Officials previously expected the BQX to pay for itself by increasing property values along its route that would lead to extra tax revenue. However, a 2016 policy designates much of this increase for other purposes, opening up a funding gap of $1.3 billion that the city hopes the federal government can help pay for.
Regional Plan Association president Thomas Wright told the Times he was still excited about the BQX, although he did not think it was a good time to look for support from the federal government.
“This is a project that should be able to generate local revenues to cover it,” he said, “if it’s being done in conjunction with the growth of the city and the region and corridor.” [NYT] – Eddie Small