Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's "Light rail could revolutionize travel in the outer borough" op-ed (August 10) sounds great on paper. As always, the devil in the details that don't exist.
Ms. Crowley's belief that construction costs would be well under $100 million doesn't add up. New Jersey Transit's Hudson Bergen Light Rail cost $1.2 billion and Newark Elizabeth Light Rail cost $694 million 15 years ago. Clearly costs would be far greater in today's dollars.
The proposed route will traverse several neighborhoods impacting thousands of people living nearby. How will they react to potential noise and visual impacts?
New York City Transit conducted a feasibility study during the 1980's to convert this LIRR branch to a subway. Intense vocal local community opposition killed this project before it progressed beyond a planning study.
Councilwoman Crowley's belief that "the cost of light rail cars is about the same as a city bus" is incorrect. The average cost of a standard 40-foot transit bus is $500,000 while the cost of a new Light Rail car averages $2 million.
Rather than spend several hundred million dollars to build a Light Rail system which could take a decade or more, why not ask the LIRR to resume service on this corridor?
They could run a two-car scoot service reconnecting Long Island City, Glendale and Middle Village with other communities, including Richmond Hill and other intermediate stops to Jamaica.
Queens residents traveling to jobs and colleges in Nassau and Suffolk counties would have access to all LIRR branches except the Port Washington line. Ditto for those traveling to the Barclay Center and downtown Brooklyn via the LIRR Atlantic Avenue branch.