Woodhaven SBS pricetag $400 million: Trottenberg

Woodhaven SBS pricetag $400 million: Trottenberg
Dedicated bus lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard.
Courtesy of NYC DOT
By Gabriel Rom

A DOT spokesman said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg’s comments on the price tag for the controversial Select Bus Service along Woodhaven Boulevard, which angered state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), had been misinterpreted.

Addabbo said the price tag for the controversial Select Bus Service along Woodhaven Boulevard has ballooned to $400 million, based on testimony from Trottenberg. Trottenberg’s spokesman said she told the Council hearing that “the potential price tag of the Woodhaven SBS project had grown but that DOT’s adjustments had made the higher estimate no longer applicable.”

Until the commissioner’s remarks before the City Council Wednesday, the full SBS price tag was estimated to be in the $200 million range.

“She also noted that DOT would work hard to keep the project on budget, while at the same time bringing significant transit and safety benefits to Woodhaven/Cross Bay in the next year,” the spokesman said.

He went onto say “that short-term work, well within the original budget, will allow the project to work as planned – while we manage the long-term project’s cost and schedule. We are also confident that the Woodhaven capital project will be eligible for federal transportation funds.”

Addabbo took issue with the possible doubling in cost for the new service.

“In my opinion, DOT’s plan for Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard could wind up being nothing more than a careless and irresponsible use of city dollars and that should not be tolerated by residents who live and travel along this corridor every day,” Addabbo said. “For $400 million, I believe the city can do better.”

Phase 1 of the Woodhaven SBS project, which will be funded with a combination of local and federal grant money. For Phase 2 of the project, the DOT will likely apply for a Federal Transit Administration New Starts program grant and use local funding as well. The New Starts program gives out federal resources for local transit capital investments.

At a contentious town hall meeting in December, Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia told Woodhaven civic leaders that her agency thought it was important to “take time and have some more conversations” during 2016, with the final design to be proposed late in the year. Implementation would begin in 2017.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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