When Mayor de Blasio unveiled his plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) in February 2016, he projected that the 16-mile streetcar route would pay for itself through increased property tax revenue garnered from neighborhoods along the route, leading opponents to dub the project “the Gentrification Express.” Now, it seems the BQX will need federal funds to meet its $2.5 Billion budget.
Without the funds, the BQX may not go forward. This is not the first setback for the project. As of January, it has missed its fourth deadline to produce a feasibility study. Right now, there is no stated date for when the city might see that study.
While this might lead casual observers to call the BQX simply unfeasible, the mayor is optimistic about the project, telling WNYC that he feels Chuck Schumer will be able to use his clout in the senate to get money earmarked for the BQX.
While Schumer is close to the project (his daughter is executive director of Friends of the BQX, the organization spearheading advocacy for the streetcar) The Queens Chronicle points out that Schumer is already advocating for other NYC Transit projects, such as the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River, and the BQX will necessarily come in line behind those other concerns.
And that’s not the only reason the BQX probably won’t be breaking ground anytime soon: advocacy groups such as Queens Anti-gentrification Project have filed a series of Freedom of Information Requests, seeing information from the DOJ regarding the mayor’s ties to real estate interests along the route.
As of now, it looks like the BQX just can’t connect!