So, what is BCSC all about, how does it plan to achieve its goals and, most importantly in these times of gross budget deficits, who will pay? BCSC is based on a concept whose time is long overdue; bringing clean, efficient, sensible public transportation back to Brooklyn, once known for its trolleys and home of the fabled Trolley Dodgers. The idea is not an original one. There have been attempts to bring back trolleys since they were banished from our streets in 1956. For various reasons; red tape, lack of support, improper organization or insufficient funding; none has succeeded. But now, with the recognition of light rail as an efficient means of transport and the revitalization of the city, its neighborhoods and parks, the time has come for us to join the many cities nationwide in utilizing this clean, efficient means of urban transportation.
But why BCSC? BCSC places the needs and concerns of the community it serves as its foremost priority. As a not-for-profit organization, the “accountability to shareholders” policies that plague so many projects today do not exist. Surely, there is a need to meet expenses but the extreme zeal for “profits first” will not distract from primary objectives. Accountability is to the community with which BCSC intends to work and become part of and, of course, to the governing agencies overseeing the project. BCSC’s primary goal is to create a system that best accounts for the community’s greater needs. And in keeping with this aim, priority for jobs, services and materials will go to workers and businesses within the community.
BCSC has been in continuous contact with the trolley and rail communities. Professionals and fans alike are very excited over the prospect of a realistic attempt being made to return trolleys to our fair town. Additional help, materials and expertise will be forthcoming as soon as facilities are procured.
BCSC has conferred with professional consulting groups with experience in projects of this type. (It’s hard to believe how many are underway in cities large and small throughout the nation.) All necessary feasibility and engineering reports will be done by professionals with many years of experience in the field. In fact, all aspects of the project that require specific expertise and skills will be undertaken by the appropriate professionals.
So, who pays?
And now for the best part: the cost to the city will be virtually nothing! Federal and private money can cover all costs. Federal programs exist to provide funding for projects of this sort. By working together with local government agencies, enough money can be obtained through these programs to cover most major expenses and, as a not-for-profit, BCSC is eligible for numerous private grants. Remember, in addition to transportation, BCSC’s agenda includes clean air, energy efficiency, education, history, culture and more, for all of which grants are available. And, in addition to a professional staff, BCSC, as a not-for-profit heritage project, intends to make full use of volunteers and interns.
The dream at BCSC is that clean, energy efficient trolleys will once again ride over the rails of our borough and that the entire greater community will join with us in bringing our history back home to create a better future for us, for our children and for many future generations of Brooklynites.