Gov. Hochul surprised many New Yorkers when, in her State of the State address last week, she proposed that an unused, 14-mile-long right-of-way that runs between Brooklyn and Queens be converted to a new passenger rail service. Dubbed the “Interborough Express,” the proposed new line would stretch from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights and potentially serve a million riders daily.
I agree that we need big ideas to solve our transit problems. For too long the MTA has favored the wealthier residents of Manhattan with the best possible service — while leaving far fewer options for other New Yorkers. Queens, where I was born, raised, and now serve as a state senator, is a distant fourth, and last, among the boroughs in terms of MTA subway stops per resident (the subway doesn’t serve Staten Island); in fact, much of our borough is a well-documented transit desert. So the MTA needs to do a lot more to connect more communities, especially underserved communities of color, by providing more transit options, especially rail.