By Jon Cronin, Editor
On Feb. 7, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley announced that her proposed light rail from Jamaica through Maspeth to Long Island City would cost $2.2 billion.
A $500,000 study was conducted by AECOM engineering consulting services, which stated in its report that the passenger service would cost $1.1 billion and infrastructure upgrades would cost an additional $1.1 billion.
In a statement from Crowley, she pointed out that the 8.5-mile line with 10 stations would cost 90 percent less than the three-mile Second Avenue subway extension.
“Too many of our Queens communities are transportation deserts,” Crowley said. “Our hard-working residents lack decent, local access to public transit, and then wind up spending too much time commuting on unreliable service.”
The plan speculates that the light rail could be paid for by $480 million from sale of air rights, $309 million from tax increment financing, $100 million from transit-orientated development and an estimated $15 million in fare revenue.
The transit infrastructure will cost $914 million, while the fleet will cost $150 million and maintenance equipment would total $15 million. The yard and maintenance facility will be $32 million.
The service would run 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and then transfer back to freight only. The trains would run between six- and 25-minute intervals depending on the time of day.
“Approximately 21,000 riders per weekday and 5.8 million riders annually would use the service, assuming a $2.75 fare, a free transfer to MTA bus or subway, and relatively frequent service throughout the day,” the study said.