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