After years of discussion and aborted attempts, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the proposed Interborough Express will move forward in her 2022 State of the State address.
"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," said Hochul. "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."
Officially, Hochul has instructed MTA officials to begin the environmental review process for the project, which would run 14 miles along the existing right-of-way of the Bay Ridge Branch, connecting unset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Additionally, the corridor would offer connections to as many as 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.
The Interborough Express would run through an area which is home to roughly 900,000 residents and 260,000 jobs - figures which are expected to grow by 41,000 and 15,000 respectively over the coming 25 years. Already, more than 100,000 commuters move between Brooklyn and Queens each day, typically relying on bus service which can be tangled in cross traffic. In comparison, the proposed rail service would offer an endo-to-end travel time of less than 40 minutes.
Additionally, Hochul has proposed using the Bay Ridge Branch corridor to service cross-harbor freight rail in order to reduce truck congestion. Per a news release, transportation planners have indicated that the commuter and freight services can coexist on the same-right-of-way, potentially representing a "game-changer for the region.”