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BQX misses key deadline, potentially delaying streetcar project by months

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The city was supposed to launch the public review process for the streetcar project by the end of the year

The city’s Economic Development Corporation was set to launch a public review process for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector at the end of this year, but that will no longer happen, Crain’s reports. The city agency is still busy studying the overall feasibility of the project, and does not want to rush into the next stage, a spokesperson for the agency told Crain’s.

That delay however could make the project a lot more costly than anticipated, and push back its projected opening in 2024 by several months, according to Crain’s. 2017 hasn’t been the most positive year for this ambitious project, which is looking to connect the waterfronts of Queens and Brooklyn via a streetcar.

A memo written by the “BQX Project Team” was leaked in April this year, and revealed that those working on the project were skeptical about the overall cost, and the funds the project would require to relocate several utility services that run along the proposed route of the streetcar.

Last month, two sources connected with the project informed the New York Post, that the friction between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio might also prevent the project from moving forward. The city has asserted time and again that it is fully committed to moving the project forward.

“The BQX will dramatically increase opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront who are clamoring for better access to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation,” said a spokesperson for the Friends of BQX. “We're optimistic that the project will take significant, concrete strides forward in 2018."

In regards to the latest delay, an EDC spokesperson told Crain’s that time lines and costs tend to change with expansive projects like the BQX and that it was better to do more studies than move into the design process.

“The BQX would be a multi-billion dollar investment bringing a modern and efficient transit option to communities along the waterfront,” said EDC’s Anthony Hogrebe, to Curbed, in a statement. “We’re willing to take the time necessary for a thorough analysis to make sure it gets done right.”