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Updated Jan 10, 2023 3:45 p.m.

See the MTA's Full Interborough Express Planning Study Here 

MTA to Expand "City Ticket" to Include Peak Hours, Giving LIRR and Metro-North Customers a Low-Cost, Flat-Fare Within New York City   

Announces Interborough Express Will Move Forward Using Light Rail Following Planning and Environmental Study 

$10 Million "Innovative Mobility" Initiative Will Expand Regional Transit To Non-MTA Transit Authorities     


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced, as part of the 2023 State of the State, a series of actions to expand New York's transit, while making it safer, more affordable, and more accessible to all. This includes new funds dedicated to non-MTA transit authorities for expanded client services, an update on the Interborough Express, and the expansion of City Ticket to 24/7.    

"I am committed to making our transit more accessible, affordable, and safe," Governor Hochul said. "These actions will build on our successes and broaden access to transit resources for New Yorkers." 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "Moving forward with Light Rail for the Interborough Express means better access to jobs, education and economic opportunities for some 900,000 New Yorkers in Queens and Brooklyn. I want to thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on this exciting project and look forward to working with stakeholders and local communities to move the proposed project forward."  

Expanding City Ticket to Include Peak Hours     

Governor Hochul today announced that the MTA City Ticket, which provides Metro-North and Long Island Railroad customers with a low-cost, flat-fare to travel within New York City during off-peak hours, will be expanded to include peak hours for a modest premium. This expansion will greatly assist commuters and tourists to New York City, and will benefit more than 10,000 trips on an average weekday.    

The New New York Panel convened by Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams recommended the expansion of City Ticket as an essential step to expand the rail use in the City and accelerate New York's comeback. Currently, peak hour rail travel can cost as much as $10.75, a prohibitively expensive price for what is often a significantly shorter commute when compared to buses or the subway.    

This expansion will significantly reduce this cost for the residents of Wakefield and Woodlawn in the Northern Bronx, as well as the residents of Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-Op City, where Governor Hochul broke ground on new Metro-North stations in December 2022. In Southeast Queens, the expansion of City Ticket will directly benefit the residents of Rosedale and Laurelton, while growing outer borough centers in Fordham, Jamaica and Flushing.    

Interborough Express

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Interborough Express project will move forward using light rail following a Planning and Environmental Linkages study. The transformative transit project, announced in the Governor's 2022 State of the State, will connect communities in Brooklyn and Queens to 17 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, and will significantly reduce travel times within and between the two boroughs along a 14-mile corridor.    

The Interborough Express will use the existing right-of-way of the Bay Ridge Branch and Fremont Secondary - a freight rail line running from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights - that connects diverse neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Drawing from conclusions in the Planning Study, the MTA determined the most efficient mode of transportation, created a list of preliminary stations, and conducted other important planning and engineering analyses to advance the project.    

The extensive planning and engineering analysis outlined in the Planning Study strongly supports the MTA's decision to choose light rail because it would provide the best service for customers at the lowest cost per rider. Key factors in this determination include:    

  • Capacity: Light rail's quick acceleration and short dwell times make it the fastest of the three options. Combined with trains that can fit up to 360 people, light rail can fully meet demand.    

  • Reliability: Since it can operate in the existing railroad right-of-way through 96 percent of the corridor, rather than on surface streets, light rail will provide reliable service.    

  • Constructability: Light rail's smaller, more flexible vehicles fit within the constraints of the existing corridor. It can also run on the street for short distances, which allows it to avoid construction of a complex and costly tunnel at a key pinch point.    

  • Vehicle Specialization: Light rail vehicles can be procured "off the shelf" without modification and can draw on a different pool of potential suppliers than traditional MTA rolling stock.    

  • Relative Cost: Thanks to its projected high ridership of 115,000 weekday riders and cost beneficial construction budget of $5.5 billion, light rail offers the best value with a cost of $48,173 per daily rider.     

The Planning Study indicates up to 115,000 daily weekday riders would use the 14-mile line with approximately 34.6 million riders annually. Travel times between Brooklyn and Queens could be reduced by up to 30 minutes each way, depending on travel distance. The Interborough Express would be a major advance for equity in the transit system. Seven out of 10 people served will be people of color, approximately one-half will come from households with no cars and approximately one-third will be living in households at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Line.  

The preliminary stations included in the Planning Study would connect the Interborough Express to 17 subway lines, including the   lines. These new stations would provide massive benefits for diverse neighborhoods, such as Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. The project would include several new connections in neighborhoods that currently lack efficient connections to each other, and in some cases, to Manhattan.    

Proposed service would operate at up to five-minute headways during the peak periods, with off-peak headways of up to 10 minutes at other times of the day. The number and location of stations along the 14-mile corridor were also conceptualized as part of the current Planning Study.    

Public input was a key factor as the Planning Study advanced. The MTA held town hall meetings last year and received more than 700 comments on its website over a six-month period. Public outreach will continue as the project progresses.   

Innovative Mobility Initiative

Today Governor Hochul is announcing the Innovative Mobility Initiative, which will provide $10 million in funds to non-MTA transit authorities to expand service offerings. This initiative will support riders who face barriers to accessing traditional transit by funding the creation of new transit alternatives or technological products.    

The five year pilot initiative will allocate $1 million to each of the seven largest non-MTA systems, and smaller systems will be jointly eligible for a competitive fund of $3 million. These funds can be used to:   

  • Match federally-provided funds up to 20 percent    

  • Purchase new technology for app-enabled local travel or fare payment   

  • Purchase smaller vehicles for paratransit   

  • Establish and expand microtransit and paratransit products    

This initiative will greatly assist transit riders across the state, while advancing equity and producing better environmental outcomes.