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North-South Subway Line Through Central Queens is Not As Costly as MTA Claims: Report

Rendering of the QueensLink proposal (QueensLink)

July 16, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Advocates who are calling for a north-south subway line in central Queens say the proposal is more feasible than what the MTA estimates.

A new report commissioned by supporters of the proposal, dubbed the QueensLink Corridor, found that the project would be billions of dollars less than what the MTA has pegged it to be.

The QueensLink Corridor would create a north-south subway line through central Queens that would connect Rego Park to Ozone Park by extending the M line. The line would use 3.5 miles of abandoned LIRR tracks that were once part of the Rockaway Beach Branch line.

The MTA published a study looking at the cost and feasibility of the project in 2019. The study, completed by Systra Engineering, estimated the cost would be about $8.1 billion.

However, the study commissioned by QueensLink supporters and completed by transportation firm TEMS Inc., found the cost to be between $3.4 and $3.7 billion.

The advocates’ report also included the cost of creating green space along the railway line.

The cost difference lies not in the actual price of construction, but in what the TEMS’ report calls “soft costs” — things like professional services and contingency factors.

TEMS said the estimates of such costs “are out of line with industry standards.”

Cost comparisons of MTA study and QueensLink study (QueensLink/ TEMS study)

The QueensLink project proposes rerouting the M line southbound from the 63rd Drive – Rego Park station along a new 3.5 mile rail where the idle LIRR tracks lay. The new M rail would connect to the A train line at Ozone Park, where it would extend to Rockaway Park — replacing the shuttle train that runs from Broad Channel to Beach 116th Street.

It also proposes extending the G train to Forest Hills in place of the rerouted M train.

QueensLink proposed subway map (QueensLink/ TEMS study)

The study also found that the creation of the QueensLink would create up to 150,00 new jobs over the course of its lifetime.

A spokesperson for the MTA declined to comment.

The study was first reported by Streetsblog.

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