Though an expert panel assembled by the mayor did not recommend one plan to transform the BQE over another, they did unveil helpful recommendations about how to approach this monumental task.
One of the most important recommendations in the panel’s final report was cooperation between city and state government. This is fundamental if any of the plans that have been proposed, from the Brooklyn-Queens Park to the City Council’s suggestion for a tunnel bypass, should move forward.
We all know the mayor and the governor don’t necessarily get along. We also know that Governor Andrew Cuomo has a tendency to step in at the 11th hour to be a “savior.” Look no further than the L train project as an example of his last-minute heroics.
But the BQE rehabilitation project is not the L train. It will require coordination among city, state and possibly federal agencies, robust community engagement with neighborhood civics and agreement among elected officials, some of whom are running for higher office.
State lawmakers are already exploring governance models for some kind of entity or public authority to oversee the BQE plan. That will require legislation that needs to pass this session.
As residents and agencies consider the best plan moving forward, not just for the triple cantilever but for the entire BQE corridor in Brooklyn, it’s become increasingly clear that the state Department of Transportation must get off the sidelines and take part in this conversation.
By law, the state DOT must be the lead agency if any federal money is used on this project, which will have a hefty price tag regardless of which plan they choose.
There’s no time to waste. Government on all levels must act with urgency if we are to save, and ultimately, transform the BQE.