VHB will be responsible for developing a “comprehensive compliant environmental review” as well as helping to prepare and file applications required under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) rules.

By completing an environmental review that adheres to standards set by the federal National Environmental Policy Act, the city would be eligible to apply for federal funding for the project.

The BQX will run along the East River waterfront, an area of the city that is underserved by other forms of public transport, linking Astoria in the north with Gowanus in the south via Queensbridge, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights and Red Hook.

A feasibility study completed last year put the cost of the project at around $US 2.73bn (including $US 145m for rolling stock). Around $US 1bn is expected to come from federal sources.

Plans for the BQX were announced long before Amazon confirmed it would build its second headquarters in Long Island City, one of the districts that the line will serve. Even prior to this, the weekday ridership on the line was estimated to be around 50,000.

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