A cadre of Southern Brooklyn politicians are slamming Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s $2.5 billion plan to build a streetcar route along Brooklyn’s hip waterfront neighborhoods, saying the city’s leader needs to stop lavishing money on “pie-in-the-sky” luxuries while commuters in Southern Brooklyn languish.
“We’re not asking for a fancy street car, we’re not asking for pie-in-the-sky ideas and luxury items, we’re asking for service that was taken from the people of Southern Brooklyn, and we’re fighting for that to be restored,” said Councilman Mark Treyger, referring to F train express service cut years ago he’s called on officials to resurrect. “Lets focus on the nuts and bolts of basic governance.”
Councilmen Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) and Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Coney Island), and assembly members William Colton (D–Bensonhurst) and Pamela Harris (D–Coney Island) have joined Treyger’s push, and the faction released a joint statement decrying the mayor’s project as a ludicrous misallocation of tax-payer funds the day after Hizzoner announced the plan during his State of the City Speech on Feb. 4.
“When you’re talking about billions of dollars, and then you don’t have the money to make our transit system more handicapped accessible, that’s like a slap in the face for Southern Brooklyn,” said Deutsch.
The mayor plans to pay for the project entirely with city tax revenue. The city and state fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates city subways and buses.
Gentile said the streetcar plan didn’t do far enough.
“It’s a great idea, but it’s too short,” he said. “It should be lengthened to include Bay Ridge to Gravesend, I would even say further out to Sheepshead Bay and Kingsborough. I support this streetcar idea, I think its great.”
—with Dennis Lynch