Feb. 4, 2016 By Christian Murray
Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to construct a 16-mile street car system that would service the Brooklyn and Queens communities located along the East River.
The plan, which would cost about $2.5 billion, is expected to be announced during de Blasio’s State of the City Speech tonight.
The line, which is being dubbed the Brooklyn Queens Connector, would run above the ground on rails embedded into public roadways alongside traffic.
The system would start at Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and go through Long Island City and end in Astoria.
The cost of the system would be significantly less than putting in a new underground subway line.
The streetcars would directly link Brooklyn and Queens, which are difficult to travel between without going into Manhattan first.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris welcomes the plan.
“Queens and Brooklyn are no longer simply homes for people who work in Manhattan but are destinations in their own right,” Gianaris said in a statement.
“This new streetcar will help people from Queens and Brooklyn commute back and forth as well as enjoy the many fine restaurants and cultural institutions on the east side of the East River without having to cross the river twice each way.”
The exact route has not yet been determined and its operation remains far off.
Under the plan, construction would start in 2019, after studies and community review. The service would begin several years after that, perhaps not until 2024.
Administration officials believe the system’s cost can be offset by tax revenue siphoned from an expected rise in property values along the route.
The plan does not need the state to sign off on it.
Gianaris said that he was optimistic.
“I look forward to working with the city to ensure the specifics of this plan will be beneficial and not harmful to our communities.”