A political heavyweight is throwing his support behind a proposed light rail system on Staten Island.

Senator Charles Schumer says new passenger rail systems along the island's north and west shores are essential to meeting the borough's growing transportation needs.

The North Shore rail link would run from Arlington to the St. George ferry terminal. Officials estimate anywhere between 11,000 to 15,000 riders would use the North Shore line.

The West Shore line would link the Hudson-Bergen station in New Jersey to a new "park and ride" in Staten Island's Bloomfield section, and stretch all the way to the Staten Island Mall.

Supporters say the rail lines would alleviate traffic and revitalize the area.

“The people that go to Manhattan to work, down to the ferry, the growth would be tremendous,” S.I. Borough President James Molinaro said Friday. “It would be tremendous, plus it would have a impact on the economy and an impact on the quality of life for people."

"That's the difference between bumper-to-bumper traffic and moving traffic. So this not only good for the people who live near here and can use this light rail system, but it's good for everybody who has to commute," said Schumer.

The cost of the north shore rail link is estimated at $360 million. The cost of the west shore link is still being studied.