- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul reviewed recent successes and outlined her priorities for improving public transportation in New York City during her annual state-of-the-state address Tuesday.
- Expanding subway lines; adding new rail service in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens; and reducing traffic fatalities were among the goals outlined in an 181-page document accompanying her remarks.
- No dollar amounts for these proposed projects were included in the document but will be included in the governor’s upcoming executive budget proposal.
While Gov. Hochul covered many issues in her 2024 address, from crime to housing, education and climate resilience, infrastructure was the focus of her transportation initiatives. “We’ll keep driving transformative infrastructure and public transit projects like the 2nd Avenue subway extension, Interborough Express, and I-81 viaduct, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs along the way,” Hochul said in her remarks.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority completed Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway in 2017 and is now planning Phase 2, which will extend the line from 96th Street to 125th Street in Manhattan, into an area that has been a subway desert for decades. Hochul wants to extend the line west along 125th Street to serve residential areas and make connections with other existing subway lines.
“A western expansion of the Second Avenue subway across Harlem is a wise investment to connect the Q line with seven additional lines, relieve congestion on 125th Street, and better connect East Harlem to the rest of the borough,” said Tom Wright, president of the nonprofit Regional Plan Association, in an email statement.
The Interborough Express project envisions using existing commuter and freight rail lines in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens to connect up to 17 different subway lines serving 900,000 residents. Using existing infrastructure means the transit line could be built more quickly and efficiently, according to the MTA.
Hochul’s plan also referenced the Penn Station Access project, which will add four local stations along the existing Amtrak line through the Bronx to be served by Metro-North commuter trains. “The project will expand access to jobs, education and entertainment for East Bronx communities and substantially reduce travel times, provide reverse commuting opportunities, and offer a critical second route into Manhattan for the first time ever through Metro-North,” the governor’s plan states.
Another of Hochul’s priorities is to make “New York the safest state in the country for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.” She signed legislation last year to allow local governments to deploy cameras to monitor traffic signal and school-zone speeding violations. Hochul is asking the state legislature to allow New York City to reduce its speed limit to 20 mph.
“Making our streets safe, protecting families and saving lives, demands that New York leaders keep drivers honest," said Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director for the public transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, in an email statement.
In response to the governor’s state-of-the-state address, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement that “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the future of mass transit and of New York City.”