NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A proposal by Mayor Bill de Blasio could change the way people get around Brooklyn and Queens.

In the State of the City address set for Thursday, Mayor de Blasio will unveil a plan for a streetcar line along the East River, the Mayor’s office confirmed to CBS2.

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The above-ground rail line – called the Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX for short – would stretch through growing neighborhoods – from Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens – that are in need of more public transportation.

The line would run from Astoria south through Ravenswood and Long Island City in Queens, and through Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Navy Yard, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Gowanus and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

The total length would be approximately 16 miles along the East River waterfront that stretches between the two boroughs. That area has experienced rapid recent growth but has limited subway service.

In a news release, the Mayor’s office noted that jobs have been exploding along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, and tens of thousands of housing units and millions of square feet of commercial space are under construction or are being planned.

But the subway system largely skipped the areas, and is now overburdened, the release said.

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The BQX would be one of the largest urban streetcar systems in the country, operating primarily in a dedicated lane that avoids conflicts with general traffic, the release said. It would link 16 New York City Housing Authority developments where more than 40,000 people live, and would link several technological innovation clusters, the release said.

The BQX would also link the Citywide Ferry System, Citi Bike, the subway system and local buses to create a multi-nodal 21st-century transportation system, the release said.

“This is about equity and innovation,” Mayor de Blasio said in the release. “We are mapping brand new transit that will knit neighborhoods together and open up real opportunities for our people.”

The streetcar line is estimated to cost $2.5 billion, less than a new subway line. It is one of de Blasio’s first major infrastructure proposals.

Construction on the new line, if it is approved, is estimated to begin in 2019 and it would not be operational until 2024.

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