Governor Hochul Announces Plans to Proceed With Interborough Express From Brooklyn to Queens

Looking west from 14th Avenue overpass of the Bay Ridge Branch in Borough Park, Brooklyn. (Jim.henderson)

In her State of the State address, Governor Hochul announced plans to move forward with the Interborough Express.

The governor will direct the MTA to start immediately the environmental review process for the project, which will be a major investment in infrastructure that would connect Brooklyn and Queens to some 17 subway lines as well as the Long Island Rail Road.

“It’s time to invest in the bold, cutting-edge infrastructure projects that will make a real difference in the lives of everyday 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, cutting down on travel time and helping neighborhoods and communities become cleaner, greener and more equitable.”

This historic project would use the existing right of way of the Bay Ridge Branch, which is a freight rail line that runs through Brooklyn and Queens, connecting the neighborhoods of: Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights with several new stations in communities not currently served by rail transit.

The new service would improve transit and job access to underserved communities along this corridor that is currently home to about 900,000 residents and 260,000 jobs, and with growth expected by at least 41,000 people and 15,000 jobs in the next 25 years.

Many new work opportunities, schools, and services are located in the outer boroughs and do not currently have easy access to cross from neighborhood to neighborhood because existing subway lines are oriented towards Manhattan. The project create better links for travel to and from Manhattan as well as key connections among neighborhoods, which currently is a slow and tedious, and would open up new opportunities for reverse commuting into Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Each day, more than 100,000 commuters make daily trips within or across Brooklyn and Queens, often relying on buses that get caught in traffic along a tangled and crowded street network. This new service would provide end-to-end travel time of less than 40 minutes, with most trips along segments of the this corridor being shorter, providing significant time savings for interborough trips.

In addition to transit service, the existing Bay Ridge Branch corridor can service cross harbor rail freight and would dramatically reduce truck congestion regionally and expand goods movement facilities, thereby fortifying supply chains still struggling to recover from the pandemic. Governor Hochul has also directed the Port Authority to complete environmental review for the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel.

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