Governor Hochul wants MTA to pursue Interborough Express concept

A proposed project to use the existing rail right-of-way to provide passenger rail connection to residents of Brooklyn and Queens will initiate the environmental review process.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will begin the process after New York Governor Kathy Hochul included the project in her 2022 State of the State Address.

The Bay Ridge branch is owned by Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), but accommodates freight traffic under an agreement with the New York & Atlantic Railway. The 14-mile Interborough Express would connect Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, which the office of the Governor describes neighborhoods as ethnically and economically diverse.

“Now is the time to invest in bold, cutting-edge infrastructure projects that will make a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “New Yorkers deserve reliable public transit that connects them from work to home and everywhere in between. The Interborough Express would be a transformational addition to Brooklyn and Queens, reducing commute time and helping neighborhoods and communities to become cleaner, greener and more equitable.”

The communities are currently not served by rail transportation and with 57% of Brooklyn households and 36% of Queens households not owning a car, there are more than 100,000 daily trips made in the area by bus. The governor’s office said a rail connection would provide end-to-end travel times of less than 40 minutes, providing “significant time savings for trips between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens compared to rail transit options.” existing common”.

The governor’s office says subway lines in neighborhoods are geared to move riders into Manhattan, making neighborhood-to-neighborhood crossings slow and cumbersome. The project would create better connections for travel to and from Manhattan by linking communities with up to 17 subways and LIRRs, as well as key connections between neighborhoods, across boroughs and opening up new opportunities for reverse journeys in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“This project would intelligently repurpose existing infrastructure to add public transit and create access to jobs, education and opportunity for so many residents of Queens and Brooklyn,” said MTA President and Acting CEO. , Janno Lieber. “I applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership, and we look forward to working with her and federal and state partners to advance the Interborough concept.”

Additionally, Governor Hochul directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct an environmental review of the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel because the existing Bay Ridge Branch Corridor can service carrier rail freight and would reduce reduce regional truck congestion and increase freight. ease of travel, thereby strengthening supply chains that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic.

The governor’s office said transportation planners believe cross-border rail freight and passenger service on the Interborough Express can work in concert, which could be a game-changer for the region.

Melvin Z. Madore