Last Thursday during his State of the City speech, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio oultlined his proposed plan for a 16-mile streetcar along the East River, linking Brooklyn and Queens.

The section of the city has experienced rapid development in the last several years, and the new transportation would be a vital way to continue that growth. De Blasio expects the estimated $2.5 billion project would be offset by an assumed increase in property values along the route.

However, the operation could be far off in the future. Michael Grynbaum writes for the New York Times:

Under the plan, construction would start in 2019, after studies and community review; service would begin several years after that, perhaps not until 2024, officials said.

Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, acknowledged “some significant engineering challenges when you are putting a modern system like this in a very old city.”

But Ms. Glen said the city’s existing transit network no longer met the needs of a metropolis whose commuting patterns have shifted significantly in the last two decades. A streetcar route, she said in an interview, offered a novel and practical fix at a time when federal money for infrastructure is scarce.

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