Mayor: BQX trolley likely to derail without cash from Trump, Congress

Still going, but broke: The Brooklyn Queens Connector trolley's fate is in the hands of Mayor DeBlasio's frequent political rival, President Trump, after Hizzonner admitted the project likely won't happen without federal funding.
Brooklyn Paper
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Mayor DeBlasio put the fate of his pet $2.5-billion waterfront trolley connecting Sunset Park and Queens in the hands of his frequent sparring partner President Trump, doubling down on a need for federal funding for the scheme after first claiming the transit system would pay for itself via tax revenue generated by a surge of development along its 14-mile track.

“I don’t think it’s doable without federal support,” DeBlasio said during a Thursday sit-down with local media. “We believe there will be some real funding created by its presence, but we’re going to need some additional support.”

Hizzoner — who has publicly called for investigations into sexual harassment claims against the president and criticized his crackdown on immigrant families attempting to cross the southern border — said the commander in chief and Congress must fork over cash for his proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector streetcar in their next budget, and that until they do, the scheme’s coffers are empty.

“Only thing I can tell you now is federal,” he said. “And that’s something that would have to come in the upcoming federal budget. The good news is we have seen the beginning of some spending on infrastructure in the last budget reconcilia­tion.”

DeBlasio’s admission came days after Trump blasted him on social media for allegedly plagiarizing number 45’s campaign motto “Promises made, promises kept” — the president’s latest critique of the city’s top pol, whom he previously called “probably the worst mayor in the history of New York City.”

“Bill DeBlasio ... just stole my campaign slogan,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “That’s not at all nice. No imagination!”

DeBlasio announced his beloved light-rail project back in 2016 as a way to connect transit-starved neighborhoods along New York Harbor and the East River, and real-estate firms quickly jumped on board, leading some pols and residents from neighborhoods it would serve to blast the so-called BQX as a gentrifying agent disguised as a public benefit.

Hizzoner initially hoped to start laying the connector’s first tracks by next year, so that commuters could hop on as soon as 2024, but the city has yet to release a draft route for the trolley and a study on the feasibility of its tax-funded revenue model after promising to do so in 2017.

The mayor, who wouldn’t say if he’s considering city money to help foot the infrastruc­ture’s bill, first spoke of the need for federal green in April, telling radio host Brian Lehrer that he was very hopeful about receiving some “particularly because of the presence of Sen. Schumer,” whose daughter leads the streetcar-advocacy group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.

His on-air change in tune came days after some administration members offered conflicting outlooks on the streetcar’s future, with the mayor’s second in command admitting the project may crash if the much-anticipated financial research shows that new buildings alone can’t subsidize its cost, and a separate City Hall rep days later walking back those doubts and reaffirming the project is still on track — a back and forth that led some to speculate the trolley may be permanently derailed.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:19 am, August 27, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Charles the VI from WIndsor says:
Thats the easiest way for DeBlah-sio to get out of this lame idea. Blame it on Rump.
Aug. 27, 2018, 5:56 am
blogger Bill from from Boerum Hill says:
BQX:DOA. Charles from Windsor says it in one
sentence. In the case of BQX, failure began
at home. Remains at home.
Aug. 27, 2018, 7:27 am
Keilah from Crown Heights says:
De Blasio has no shame. He hates all people and things Republican but isn't too low down not to beg the President for a federal bailout for his unaffordable tram to nowhere.
Aug. 27, 2018, 8 am
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
A streetcar named de Blasio? Not going to happen when there's a lot of traffic congestion and possible climate change concerns along the Brooklyn Queens Waterfront from Sunset Park to Astoria. It's a pipe dream, a non-starter and a pie in a sky.
Aug. 27, 2018, 9:50 am
Boondoggle Ain't Happening!?! from The Land where REBNY owns Mayor deBlasio says:
'No-shame-Bill' tries-& thus far fails to hand over ever more properties -waterfront!-to REBNY/Two Trees/Tishman Speyer/Durst/Goldman Sachs...

A boondoggle plan that would screw NYCHA BQX user residents who'd have to pay double fares. It pushes further development of waterfront properties where only big tax remittances dependency would need to be relied on. Value added property capture would be inevitable to finance it because it is independent of the MTA...a prescription for even more displacement & gentrification...all for the Mayor's mega-real estate pals...
Aug. 27, 2018, 10:51 am
the cart from in front of the horse says:
"DeBlasio announced his beloved light-rail project back in 2016 ... and the East River, and real-estate firms quickly jumped on board...." Actually, it was the other way around. Real estate developers developed the scheme and lobbied the mayor to adopt the idea.
Aug. 27, 2018, 12:11 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Thank GOD for President Trump protecting us from socialist whack jocks like BdB.
Aug. 27, 2018, 1:02 pm
Richard Fowler’ from Bed Sty says:
At the gates ave housing projects you have Mercedes SUV and Volvo’s and jacquars parked in the parking lot all the while when these expensive car owners are paying $225 per month for a 2 bedroom and $245 per month for a three bedroom for NYC housing this rent also includes the electric and gas . I wrote to Governor Cumo about this ripoff and he responded that it’s Mayor DeBlasio that’s responsible , I wrote to the mayor like 5 Letters telling him about the ripoff at NYC housin and he never replied to me. So I say that the Mayor is complicit in this ripoff from nyc housin the same way that these folks who live there and drive Mercedes and jacquars and Volve’s and range rovers and these are mainly also the same folks who play loud music until the wee hours and not lettin the hard working man rest.
Aug. 27, 2018, 3:03 pm
Zaxby says:
I wish i could afford a "jacquar"
Aug. 27, 2018, 3:45 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
This idea was a lost cause from the start, and the only reason the BQX is still being talked about is because it's on life support, otherwise it would have been dead already just like congestion pricing.
Aug. 27, 2018, 5:36 pm
Frank from Furter says:
we really do need new transit projects. I can name a few ..extend the one line to bay ridge. Open the old LIRR right away from downtown Brooklyn to Canarsie...Continue the second ave subway to the Bronx...BTW where is the infrastructure program Trump promised?
Aug. 27, 2018, 5:53 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
That BQX mock-up car should now be on milk crates. More appropriate.
Aug. 27, 2018, 6:06 pm
10 per cent from Outer Brooklyn says:
The actual cost is less than 10 percent of estimate...... always farted Issues the goal is Corruption as UNUSUAL
Aug. 27, 2018, 6:33 pm
Quamgee from E NY says:
The reason DeBlasio is all of a sudden changing his mind is probably because no one bribed him . Think about that
Aug. 27, 2018, 7:23 pm
Move out from Your mom's basement says:
LOL, this quote has to be from the dumbest person in Brooklyn:
"Thank GOD for President Trump protecting us from socialist whack jocks like BdB."
Aug. 27, 2018, 7:32 pm
NonSequitur from Tangentia says:
Why is City Hall hidden behind so many trees and is visible only if standing adjacent to it?

Also, can't the owners of the Flatiron Building project lights on it at night?
Aug. 27, 2018, 10:02 pm
ujh from Westchester County says:
At least de Blasio now has a scapegoat that's "killing" his BQX because nobody in Congress representing New York City will lift one finger to push this request. Doesn't he understand that the public is seeing through his shenanigans?
Aug. 27, 2018, 11:13 pm
stan chaz from Greenpoint says:
All these anti-DeBlasio Trump-lovers that seem to infest your pages (hmmm ..where have i heard that word before?) don't seem to realize that our Mayor is fighting to try to get back more of the tax dollars we pay to Washington, just as he is fighting for a fairer distribution of dollars from Albany for such things as the MTA.
The BQX would be a welcome infrastructure improvement for many transit-starved areas along the East River waterfront. This, within a transit system whose main purpose is to presently transport people in and out of Manhattan, instead of providing easy connections between the growing centers of commerce (and residence) within the outer boroughs.
Aug. 28, 2018, 4 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Good, it was a poor design. Running on the street at street level itself is a terrible idea. The suspended above ground/raised model model as used for years in the Chiba Urban Monorail in Chiba, Japan would allow for it top operate free from any vehicular traffic issues, fly over highway junctions like the Battery Tunnel BQE mess, run in all weather, and have a spur down Atlantic Ave to the subway and LIRR stations so businesses can attract potential customers from much further away than just the immediate local area.
Aug. 28, 2018, 10:55 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville says:
I am glad that the project probably won't go forward, especially since it means more lanes for traffic and less cyclists cramming up the roads after disembarking from the streetcars.Robert Moses had the right idea, and while I don't see eye to eye with Donald Trump on a lot of issues (although he does make a lot of sense regarding Israeli/Palestinian issues), I can see why he never supports public transit for being the cash drain that it is. New York wouldn't exist without its freeway network, and streetsblogger zealouts should acknowledge this before attacking the motorist majority.
Aug. 28, 2018, 11:52 am
ty from pps says:
They should get Bob Diamond to fix this.
Aug. 28, 2018, 1:55 pm
Mark from Crown Heights says:
If Billy-Boy has lots of money to spend on this idiotic boondoggle, let him invest that extra cash on the subway and bus systems.
Aug. 28, 2018, 5:07 pm
Michael says:
It's not problem if there isn't Federal funding - they can just make up the difference by raising the tolls that are already in place. Increase the price of parking meters by 5 cents an hour. That can cover any gap. Add 1 dollar to all traffic tickets.
Aug. 29, 2018, 5:08 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I wasn't here all day yesterday, and I won't be surprised that whoever wrote those is probably on the payroll for Transportation Alternatives to make me look bad. Nonetheless, the BQX should be placed in the coffin already. Street level rails in a densely populated city is a bad idea and will only lead to making traffic even worse. Then again, anything that gives motorists the royal screw job seems to have the approval of those anti-car fanatics over on Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives. If the area of Red Hook really does need transit improvements, then how about extending a subway line to them instead? As for what Michael suggests to make up the difference, I'm tired of my group always being treated like the cash cow, which is pretty much why congestion pricing or any other form of tolling ends up losing especially when it makes those of us foot the bill for transportation we can hardly ever use ourselves. Maybe we should hike some of the subway and bus fares instead since it will be those people that will end up using it anyway.
Aug. 29, 2018, 2:39 pm

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