Friday, February 05, 2016

Light rail to return to New York City?

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Light Rail could make a return to New York City under plans announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Feb. 4, 2016.

The city is proposing the construction of a nearly 16-mile line along the East River connecting growing neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, some of which currently have limited mass transit options.

The $2.5 billion project, called the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), will run from Sunset Park to Astoria, serving neighborhoods including Long Island City, Greenpoint, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and Red Hook, and will be funded through increases in property tax revenues from developments along the route. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2024.

De Blasio officially announced the project during his State of the City address on Feb. 4, where he said the "state-of-the-art streetcar... has the potential to generate more than $25 billion of economic impact for our city over 30 years."

"The BQX has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers," de Blasio said.

The last sections of New York's once extensive streetcar network were removed in the 1950s to accommodate private cars and buses. The new route is proposed to run 70% on its own right-of-way and 30% in mixed traffic.

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