Brooklyn Boro

Amazon’s payments may not be a savior for BQX streetcar plan

December 19, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photos courtesy of the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
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From the moment that Amazon announced that it would be opening a new headquarters in Long Island City, supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s stalled Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) project have hoped that money raised from the development would help close the hole in the streetcar’s budget.

Friends of the BQX, a support group setup to promote the light rail line, issued an immediate press release saying that Amazon’s arrival meant that it was time to “fast-track” the project, according to Gothamist.

Supporters placed their hopes in an infrastructure fund that Amazon has agreed to set up. Not to be outdone, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz demanded that Jeff Bezos himself pay for the streetcar, Gothamist reported.

However, Gothamist said the numbers still don’t add up. The infrastructure fund would take up half of the PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) raised from Amazon.

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The amount of PILOT money that could be pumped into the infrastructure fund would likely be between $200 million and $300 million. However, the estimated price tag for the BQX is about $2.7 billion, Gothamist said.

Furthermore, Amazon’s Queens campus isn’t projected to be totally ready and occupied until about 2024, and streetcar contractors will not want to wait that long for payment.

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  1. Bob Diamond

    Amazon could arrange a “bridge loan” that would permit the contractors to be paid on time. Of course, this would have to contain language protecting the City- and Amazon: final payments to contractors/vendors not made until work is accepted by the City’s inspectors- and proven to be in good working order under actual service conditions.

  2. Nomcebo Manzini

    Umm. Or, Bob, the city and state could come to their senses and realize that NY ain’t Wisconsin…. When you buy jobs that will mostly bring out-of-towners to our city to make it even more unaffordable and clogged, the voters are likely to punish – not reward – you!

    In other words, start playing hard-ball – you don’t have to rip up a contract to send Amazon the message that somebody in “contracts” – maybe, even an honest someone – seriously miscalculated just how much of a win this deal was for Amazon and just how bad a deal it was for everybody else.

    Not exactly great “optics” when the largest Housing Project in the country is close enough to your helipad to maybe send a few folks each day to protest.

    Both Andy and Bill show no sign of retiring, although each of them combines ineptness, unlikability and nowhere-to-go-politically. Bill clearly has less savvy and less backbone, so look for him to grandstand about what “Amazon has to do for ALL the citizens of NY!” (Somebody who exercised his mind as much as he does his body might have thought of that BEFORE the press conference announcing “WE WON AMAZON!”)

  3. Robert Diamond

    HERE’S YOUR BQX FOR UNDER $700 MILLION INSTEAD OF $2.7 BILLION: Did you know about the Delmar Loop? I didn’t. Its a little over two “route miles” long and they paid $50 million (2016). Look at how nicely they built it. BTW- $23 million per “route mile” is exactly the cost we (BHRA) had previously predicted for the Red Hook line…Source:
    Simply add “Dedicated Streetcar Lanes” and Modern “Light Rail Cars” (“75% low floor”) -and-