Hochul backs plan for express rail connecting Queens and Brooklyn

In her State of the State address, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans for a cutting-edge infrastructure project that would expand rail service between Brooklyn and Queens.

"Take an old, unused, 14-mile-long right-of-way and create what we're calling the Interborough Express," Hochul said in her remarks.

Her vision is to connect an estimated 900,000 people to as many as 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road in just 40 minutes.

"I am directing the MTA to immediately commence an environmental review, so we can get that project rolling down the track," the governor added.

The Interborough Express route occupies existing freight train tracks that begin in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and end in Jackson Heights in Queens, running through underserved neighborhoods, or "transit deserts," in between.

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Many Brooklynites are excited to see the project come to fruition.

"I think it would help immensely," Bay Ridge resident Lane Northcutt said. "Not just for me but for everyone, especially for those who are in east Brooklyn."

"I used to live in Williamsburg for three years and I work in Bensonhurst," Bay Ridge resident Tricia Harrington said. "Something like this could have been beneficial when I lived in Williamsburg to come down to work. It was very hard to get to work on a train."

State officials say the initiative would reduce congestion on roadways and create 15,000 jobs in the next 25 years.

The Regional Plan Association, or RPA, has been pushing a similar proposal since the 1990s. RPA believes it would also be helpful in the case of severe weather.

"It is already existing, it's grade-separated," RPA New York Director Maulin Mehta said. "So, it has less of a chance of being impacted by some of the flooding issues we've seen in the subway."

Critics of the plan are concerned there hasn't been enough community outreach but the plan is still in its early stages.