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WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show took note this morning of the Voice’s article wondering if Mayor de Blasio’s $2.5 billion BQX streetcar plan is even a thing anymore, and the mayor, on hand for his weekly #AskTheMayor segment, answered, Hell yeah it is:
Lehrer: From Twitter, a listener asks, “What happened to BQX streetcar project, and why won’t you support congestion pricing for workdays in Manhattan to fund the subways?” And I will note there is a Village Voice article I think it is, out right now — oh yeah, here it is, the Village Voice, August 3, “The Mysterious Disappearance of Mayor de Blasio’s $2.58 Million [sic] Streetcar Plan,” by Neil deMause. Did it disappear?
De Blasio: No, it didn’t disappear! It’s a plan that we’ve said, from the beginning, construction would start on in 2019 or 2020. So just the normal course of things, we’re doing all the preparation work to do the streetcar, to do the light-rail, from Astoria, Queens, down to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There’s been a series of community meetings. There’s a lot of folks in the community who want it, because a lot of these areas don’t have enough transportation options. There are a lot of folks who are raising real concerns and critiques that we’re trying to address. But no, the light-rail project is moving forward. I’ll have a lot more to say as the next steps are ready.
There you have it! BQX is not dead at all! The mayor did not provide any more information on the still-open question of how on earth the $2.5 billion price tag will be paid for, but he’ll get back to us with more details as soon as he has them at some later date.
As for congestion pricing, the heart of the Move NY proposal for funding transit repairs and improvements that has gotten a fair bit of support from transit advocates, de Blasio mentioned unspecified “challenges and problems” that have yet to be addressed, then said the state senate won’t pass it anyway, so it’s “a true nonstarter.” If only those upstate Republicans didn’t have control of the senate thanks to rogue Democrats caucusing with them — gotta wonder if anybody is trying to do anything about that?