Industry leaders call on government to use federal infrastructure funds to rebuild BQE

Photo by Adam Fagen published via Flikr

Government leaders must use new federal infrastructure dollars to demolish the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and rebuild it to meet 21st century needs, says Carlo Scissura, president of the New York Building Congress (NYBC).

“I have one mission in life (on) infrastructure and that is to work with communities and create, I believe, the largest infrastructure [investment] in America,”  he said during a Nov. 10 panel discussion. “It’s called knocking down, redesigning, and rebuilding a Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for people, for communities, and for all of us in our city.”

Money from President Biden’s recently-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, combined with a new governor and new New York City mayor create the perfect opportunity for the highway redesign, he said at an infrastructure breakfast hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in Industry City.

“I get out (of the subway) at Fourth Avenue and I love Sunset Park… But then what happens, I walk down the block and the worst monstrosity in the United States, I have to look at,” Scissura said, as originally reported by AM New York. “It is the most ridiculous, disgusting eyesore. It’s dangerous, it’s polluted, it’s rusted, let’s all chant, ‘tear the BQE down, tear the BQE down.’”

The BQE was built in the 1950s, destroying several working-class neighbourhoods in its path.

“We had no money three years ago, now we’ve got money and we’ve got a city and a state that are working together, we can actually get some incredible things done,” Scissura told amNewYork Metro.

A portion of the $1.2 trillion in national infrastructure funding can be applied  to reconnect as many as 20 communities by removing parts of interstates and repurposing former rail lines.”

“If a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a Black neighborhood or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to the beach … in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Bronx Congress member Ritchie Torres, and city DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman rallied in Parkchester on Nov. 9 for the funds to be used to cap the trenched roadway that cuts through the borough, and on Wednesday Mayor-to-be Eric Adams voiced support for improving that thruway and the BQE, AM New York reported.


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