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Interborough Express

The Interborough Express is a transformative rapid transit project that will connect currently underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
Updated Jan 16, 2024
A rendering of the proposed Flatbush/Nostrand Avs station on the Interborough Express

Details

  • Location
    Brooklyn, Queens
  • Type
    System Expansion
  • Status
    Planning

Area Map

Timeline

Pre-Planning
  • January 2022: Gov. Kathy Hochul directs the MTA to begin the environmental review process for the project.
  • January 2023: Light rail selected as mode, planning report released
  • Summer/Fall 2023: Virtual town hall, open houses, and pop-up engagement
  • Winter 2023: Formal environmental review process begins (anticipated)

About the project

The Interborough Express is a transformative rapid transit project that will connect currently underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens. It will substantially cut down on travel times between the two boroughs, reduce congestion, and expand economic opportunities for the people who live and work in the surrounding neighborhoods. 

The project would be built along the existing, LIRR-owned Bay Ridge Branch and CSX-owned Fremont Secondary, a 14-mile freight line that extends from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Jackson Heights, Queens. It would create a new transit option for close to 900,000 residents of the neighborhoods along the route, along with 260,000 people who work in Brooklyn and Queens. It would connect with up to 17 different subway lines, as well as Long Island Rail Road, with end-to-end travel times anticipated at less than 40 minutes. Daily weekday ridership is estimated at 115,000.   

Using the existing rail infrastructure means the Interborough Express could be built more quickly and efficiently. It would also preserve the Bay Ridge Branch’s use as a freight line, providing an opportunity to connect to the Port Authority’s Cross-Harbor Freight Project. 

After extensive planning, analysis, and public engagement, Light Rail was chosen because it will provide the best service for riders at the best value. It also announced a preliminary list of stations and advanced other important planning and engineering analysis of the project. The formal environmental review process is anticipated to begin in winter 2023.

Project benefits

  • A direct public transit option between Brooklyn and Queens
  • Connections with up to 17 subway lines and Long Island Rail Road
  • A faster commute — end-to-end rides are expected to take 40 minutes
  • A new transit option in underserved locations where more than a third of residents are below the federal poverty line

A map of the proposed Interborough Express route

We want to hear from you!

We are seeking public feedback about the Interborough Express. Your input will help inform the next phases of the project. Submit a comment or feedback at IBXoutreach@mtacd.org.

Public engagement

The MTA has held multiple in-person open houses to allow members of the public to learn more about the environmental review process, how to stay involved, and how to share feedback. You can review the presentation and associated informational boards from the open houses and share your feedback via a digital engagement tool.

Next steps

In January 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the MTA to begin the environmental review process for the Interborough Express, and identify the best mode of transit for the project (heavy rail, light rail, or bus rapid transit). 

In January 2023, the MTA announced the completion of the Planning Study, selecting Light Rail as the mode and advancing transit planning and engineering analysis. 

The formal environmental review process will continue in 2023 and beyond.

Gov. Hochul has also directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to complete an environmental review for a cross-freight rail tunnel, which could potentially link with the Bay Ridge Connector freight line.