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Brooklyn-Queens streetcar overlooked in city’s 2019 budget

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As feasibility studies wrap up, the $2.5 billion project is left out of the city’s budget

The Brooklyn-Queens streetcar is facing yet another setback that makes the possibility of the project breaking ground by 2019, if at all, far-fetched.

Crain’s reports that the $2.5 billion project has been left out of the Economic Development Corporation’s budget, thus meaning that preliminary design work and an environmental study have no funding to move forward with. During a budget council meeting held at the City Council on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained that a study determining if the project is feasible is wrapping up, but until that is complete, funding would not be included in the final budget. In case the project can’t move forward as planned, the city would rather avoid investing millions upfront.

Preliminary design work and the environmental study would each take a year to complete with a combined cost of somewhere around $40 million, and while the two can occur simultaneously, they must be complete before the city can hire a contractor and get the public-approval process going, which takes a year. Add to that, it’s been determined that underground infrastructure along the proposed route could raise the $2.5 billion price tag by a whopping 40 percent.

Last month, Mayor de Blasio admitted that the BQX would need federal funding to move forward as planned, which is in stark contrast to his previous claims that the city would foot the entire bill for the project.

If the project is included in the 2020 fiscal budget, which begins in July 2019, it could potentially break ground within a year afterward, but at that point it would already be far behind its initial schedule and likely more costly.