WSP USA, Inc. to perform environmental review of Light Rail Transit project for Interborough Express

Aug. 3, 2023
The consultant conducting the environmental review for the Light Rail Transit project for Interborough Express will be directed by MTA Construction & Development.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) selected WSP USA, Inc., to perform the environmental review of the proposed Interborough Express Light Rail Transit project. The project is set to connect communities in Brooklyn and Queens to 17 subway lines and the Long Island Railroad and significantly reduce travel times within and between the two boroughs.

"Today marks a major milestone in this monumental project -- bringing us that much closer to connecting communities in Brooklyn and Queens while improving their quality of life," said New York Gov, Kathy Hochul. "By building on already existing infrastructure, the Interborough Express will shave time off commutes and make it easier to connect to subway lines across the route."

The Interborough Express would use the existing right-of-way of the Bay Ridge Branch, which is a freight rail line that runs through Brooklyn and Queens, connecting ethnically and socioeconomically 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.

“The Interborough Express will provide better access to jobs, education and economic opportunity for well over 100,000 New Yorkers in Queens and Brooklyn. I want to thank Gov. Hochul for making this project a priority for the riders – and communities – it will benefit," said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.

“By forging new transit connections, the MTA will transform communities throughout lesser served areas in Brooklyn and Queens. The Interborough Express will create seamless connections to jobs, housing and everything the metropolitan region has to offer. Awarding a contract for the environmental review brings us one step closer to making this project a reality," said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer.

According to the MTA’s Planning & Environmental Linkages Study, up to seven out of 10 people served will be from communities 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 consultant conducting the environmental review will be directed by MTA Construction & Development. The review itself will be closely coordinated with other transportation projects and regional studies.

This contract will cover the period up to and including the issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD) and shall include:

The project could provide potential connections to 17 subway lines, serving areas of Brooklyn and Queens while initial studies indicate up to 115,000 daily weekday riders with annual ridership of approximately four million. Travel times between Brooklyn and Queens could be reduced by up to 30 minutes each way, depending on travel distance.

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. Nineteen stations are planned along the 14-mile corridor between Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Public outreach will be ongoing throughout the project. The MTA will host a virtual town hall meeting later this month to provide an overview of the actions taken on the project so far, including the Planning and Environmental Linkages study. The meeting will be held Aug. 16.