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‘Our moment is now’: Mayor Adams vows to speed up BQE overhaul

BQE
Cars and trucks travel down the BQE in Brooklyn Heights.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Mayor Eric Adams wants to move the stalled project to fix the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) into the fast lane, rather than wait two decades to come up with an overhaul.

“Our moment is right now. I will not wait decades and needlessly spend hundreds of millions of additional taxpayer dollars when we can and must start rebuilding this vital transportation artery today,” Adams said in a statement.

The mayor’s push, which was first revealed by the New York Times, is light on details, but the Gray Lady reported that hizzoner wants construction to start within five years and that his administration would begin holding public community meetings this month.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio put forth a plan last year to extend the aging BQE’s lifespan by 20 years through short-term fixes and cracking down on overweight trucks, which disproportionately damage the tiered section of the roadway that wraps around Brooklyn Heights.

Fast-tracking a larger revamp across the entire length of the BQE would allow the city and state to tap into federal infrastructure dollars.

“Our bold, corridor-wide approach will more quickly deliver the safe, modern, resilient structure we need, while confronting the racism built into our infrastructure by reconnecting communities divided by this highway,” the mayor said. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access the federal funding necessary to reimagine and rebuild the BQE that a post-pandemic economy and city demand, and we are seizing it.”

Adams’s statements mark his first foray into the complicated and contentious project of addressing the BQE’s deterioration, but City Hall’s press office did not provide more details on how he plans to tackle the issue.

The mayor previously planned to shift 80% of the annual repair budget for BQE fixes out of this year’s city budget, amNewYork Metro first reported last month, but later defended the move, pledging that the road would remain safe.

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