In 2001, when the idea was first floated to bring the line, which was closed in 1962, back to life, the price tag was about $250 million
A final report that was supposed to be released last September, but was instead dumped on the public on the eve of Yom Kippur last week, now estimates the cost would be about $6.7 billion. A connection to the rest of the NYC Transit system would bring the final price tag to $8.1 billion.
Talk about inflation!
And the MTA’s 2020-2024 Five-Year Capital Plan doesn’t include any money for even preliminary work on reactivating the line, which means the cost is only going to get steeper.
Although that didn’t deter supporters of the proposal, including Assemblywoman Stacey-Pheffer Amato, who expressed her optimism with a strained metaphor.
“To be clear, the cost of the project cannot be an obstacle,” she said in a statement. “We are talking about a real opportunity to give time back to commuters’ lives. If this is what it will take to bring water to a transit desert, then give me a bucket!”
That’s going to be one expensive bucket! But bad news for the RBB just might put the spotlight on The QNS proposal.
The QNS is a plan to reactivate the Lower Montauk Branch of the LIRR for use by NYC Transit. It would run from Jamaica to Hunts Point through neighborhoods like Richmond Hill and Maspeth with connections to the J and Z lines, as well as the G and 7 subways.
It’s a pet project of former councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, one she began pushing for after she left office. And now that the RBB idea appears dead in the water for now, Crowley isn’t wasting any time calling attention to her own transit proposal.
And what goes better with mass transit than beer? Last week, Crowley and the Friends of The QNS group hosted an info session at Finback Brewery in Glendale.
The brewery not only hosted the event, but is naming one of their signature beers “The QNS” to help draw attention to the proposal.
Beer is fine (we’re really more of a fan of Night Train Express Wine Coolers, though) with us here at Pol Position, but what really interests us is how The QNS plan will play in the upcoming race for borough president, a post Crowley has her eyes on.
Crowley already has a solid proposal put together for the project, full of studies and fancy renderings, that she can trot out while campaigning to help differentiate herself from the rest of the pack as a candidate with a plan to improve mass transit.
Crowley is an interesting candidate in other respects, too. While other candidates, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, are distancing themselves from the plan to bring a community jail to Kew Gardens, Crowley was an early supporter of the plan while a member of the City Council.
In fact, it was Crowley years ago who actually proposed the very site currently under consideration and up for a full City Council vote this week.
Some could blame her for the project, but others might give her credit for taking the lead and coming up with a workable solution rather then waiting for the de Blasio administration to choose its own site for the facility with little to no community input.
It will be interesting to see how both of these issues either help or hurt Crowley in the race. Until then, where can we get our hands on some this beer?