April 4, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The city could abandon de Blasio’s BQX project—a 16-mile street level light-rail along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront—if studies determine the plan to be infeasible, according to a Daily News report.
A report published by the News yesterday quotes Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who spoke at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. Glen said BQX studies are still underway.
“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,” Glen said.
The $2.5 billion project’s feasibility centers on whether it can pay for itself through its proposed value-capture system, which would increase property values in the light-rail’s surrounding blocks and yield additional property taxes that could be used to fund the BQX.
Friends of the BQX, a coalition of real estate heads, economic development groups, and local community groups, says value capturing is a “more progressive” form of taxation, and would not compete with the city’s funds.
Glen said a study that looks into how much extra property tax revenue can be raised for the BQX should be finished soon, the News reported.
“Few proposed projects match the potential of the BQX to create jobs, spur inclusive economic growth and leverage city resources to expand opportunity,” A Friends of the BQX spokesperson said. “Now is the time for the city to capitalize on a real moment to take our transit destiny into our hands and move the BQX forward by unveiling next steps for the project.”
Questions on the project’s feasibility came to light a year ago, when an internal memo sent to Glen and published by Politico outlined several problems with the proposal, including issues with raising enough revenue to fund the entire project.
The project, which would run through Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, and beyond, is expected to serve more than 400,000 people living around the 30-stop route, and 300,000 who work along it. The BQX will operate 24 hours a day, at the same price to ride a bus or a train.
The Friends of the BQX estimate that the light rail can be up and running as soon as 2024, and in an October 2017 town hall in Brooklyn, de Blasio announced that the BQX would likely break ground in 2020.