Is the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar project a bust? Two sources connected with the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), as the project is officially known, suggested as much to the New York Post, on Thursday.
The problem mainly stems from the frosty relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to the Post. Several sections along the proposed 16-mile route of the streetcar are state owned, and that might prove to be roadblock.
Another concern these inside sources raised with the Post was the lack of integration of the streetcar with the city’s subway and buses. A detailed plan for how these systems will be connected has not been announced so far, and the MTA hasn’t announced whether the streetcar will be part of MetroCard system.
But the resounding success of the NYC Ferry could be an indicator that a streetcar running on a separate payment system might prove successful. A de Blasio administration spokesperson told the Post that the project could still move forward while BQX and the MTA hammered out a revenue-sharing plan.
This spokesperson also insisted that the city could create a route from Astoria to Sunset Park without state land, and that the most pressing concern wasn’t the relationship between de Blasio and Cuomo, but more about whether the BQX project could finance itself.
The Mayor himself has previously admitted that funds for the BQX may not come through, but that he was optimistic they would.
As plans stand right now, construction is expected to get underway in 2019, with service set to get underway in 2024. However, the project will have go through a long approval process before that happens, and neighborhood after neighborhood along the proposed route has expressed skepticism about the streetcar.
UPDATE: Representatives for Friends of the BQX and the Mayor have both issued the following statements to Curbed:
“We take the Mayor and his team at their word when they say they are committed to this project and that none of the issues raised in today's story are concerns,” A spokesperson for Friends of the BQX, said. “Of course there is going to be bureaucratic resistance to a project of this magnitude. This administration understands the BQX's transformative potential, not just for this corridor but beyond as way for our city to determine its own transit destiny. We look forward to seeing the mayor and his team take concrete steps to make the project top second-term priority."
“We’re committed to the streetcar project and, right now, we’re in the midst of a brass-tacks analysis of the block-by-block engineering costs and revenue projections,” a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office said. “We’ll be discussing those results with New Yorkers in the months ahead.”