Earlier this week, Governor Kathy Hochul laid out her prospective plan to go full steam ahead with the Interborough express line for the Subway that would connect up to 17 subway lines, serve nearly 1 million commuters daily and generate significant economic growth.
During her State of the State address on Wednesday Hochul claimed she had directed the MTA to begin an environmental review process for what she described as a “transformative” new line now decades in the making.
So, for New Yorkers, the interborough line is set to come with a slew of advantages. Firstly, the line would serve a corridor currently home to 900,000 residents and 260,000 jobs, with expected growth of at least 41,000 people and 15,000 jobs in the next 25 years. Both Brooklyn and Queens rely heavily on public transportation, data shows, with 57% and 36% of households in Brooklyn and Queens, respectively, not owning cars.
The line will ferry New Yorkers along a 14-mile existing freight right-of-way from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Jackson Heights, Queens, with stops along the way that include Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Maspeth and Elmhurst.
The biggest boon of the new line is that since public transit between Brooklyn and Queens has long been a slow, tedious process, the Interborough Express would supplement Manhattan transit, with fast new reliable connections, according to Hochul. The corridor would connect up to 17 subway lines, in addition to the Long Island Rail Road, expanding access to jobs for the 85,000 or so daily commuters from those areas who work in Manhattan.
According to Hochul, the six key core project benefits of the line are:
- Faster commutes: A new service would provide end-to-end travel time of less than 40 minutes, providing significant time savings for trips between Brooklyn and Queens compared with existing transit options
- Better service: The Interborough Express could attract some 74,000 to 88,000-weekday riders, attracting more than 2 million new annual trips to public transit
- Greater job access: The planned line would connect residents and workers to the LIRR and up to 17 subway lines, significantly expanding access to jobs and services across the metro area
- Greater equity: The line would provide new service where 71% of residents are people of color and 33% are below 1.5 times the federal poverty line
- Economic development: In addition to creating new jobs, the new line will connect large centers of retail in Queens and Brooklyn, including the Jackson Heights and Middle Village shopping hubs, supporting small businesses and providing a foundation for more economic development
- Accelerated project completion: Because the Interborough Express will be built on an existing freight right-of-way, the project can be completed much faster than if it were starting from scratch, while still preserving the rail corridor for freight use