STATEN ISLAND — The MTA set aside $4 million in its budget to study a proposed light rail between Staten Island and New Jersey.
The West Shore Light Rail, first proposed more than a decade ago, would run 13-miles along Staten Island from Richmond Valley to Elm Park then connect to New Jersey over the Bayonne Bridge.
The MTA capital program funds will go toward one of two studies needed to get the project off the ground, state lawmakers announced.
"This is a crucial step forward to alleviating the frustrations that Staten Islanders have been facing for years during their commutes," Assemblyman Michael Cusick said.
The money would be used to perform an Alternative Analysis study, which would delve deep into the nuts and bolts of the project to see if it's feasible. The city would still need to do an Environmental Impact Statement to move the project forward.
The MTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
The line — which would connect to light rails in New Jersey — was first pitched by the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) in 2004 and they restarted the campaign in 2014 with a petition calling on the state to fund the study.
After the city announced a plans for a $2.5 billion streetcar connecting Brooklyn and Queens last year, Staten Island elected officials wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio to get them to consider the West Shore Light Rail with the same urgency.
The MTA later committed to funding the Alternative Analysis study for the line, which the SIEDC estimated would cost $5 million at the time.
Aside from the light rail, the SIEDC has also recently started work on a plan to build an aerial gondola along the Bayonne Bridge to link the two states.