NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Could a light rail system be on its way to Queens?
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley believes a light rail system between Glendale and Long Island City may help speed up an increasingly sluggish commute for those traveling into Manhattan from Queens.
“People have to take a bus to get to a very crowded train and then into the city which sometimes takes over an hour to get four, five — or less than ten miles,” Crowley said.
Tracks and infrastructure along the proposed route are currently being used to transport freight. Crowley said that using the tracks to implement a light rail system instead would help get Queens commuters into Manhattan faster and more efficiently.
“We have this railroad that is existing right of way with a good track in excellent condition,” Crowley said. “It’s like right now having a roadway with no vehicles on it. It’s completely a waste of infrastructure.”
Crowley estimates the project would cost less than $20 million dollars and would be more cost-effective in the long-term, because light rail cars last longer than buses.
“A brand new bus costs roughly nearly a million dollars, and it only lasts about 13 years,” Crowley said.
Light rail systems are similar to tramways or streetcar transportation, but often operate at a higher capacity to accommodate more commuters.