The political leader of Queens says he will spearhead a campaign to build support for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s planned Brooklyn-Queens “Interborough Express” commuter rail service.
“I will make a full court press to help make this happen. It’s a legacy piece,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards told The Post.
“It’s a win-win project.”
During her State of the State address last week, Hochul said the MTA could convert an underutilized 14-mile right-of-way freight line into a new transit service that would run from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to Jackson Heights Heights in Queens, connecting neighborhoods with 900,000 residents.
“A transit line connecting Queens and Brooklyn is good for the economy and creating jobs, will provide more exposure for culture and tourism and shaves time off commutes,” Richards said.
The Queens Beep also said Brooklynites would get the opportunity to patronize eateries and taste the cuisine in his territory, “the world’s borough.”
“I want people from Brooklyn to come to Queens for some good food. Jackson Heights is the mecca for food,” he said.
Richards praised Hochul for putting her muscle behind the project, which he said was sound policy and shrewd politics.
He pointed out that Queens neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 would be beneficiaries of the new transit service. The heads of the chambers of commerce of Brooklyn and Queens also put out a joint statement backing the commuter rail project.
Queens as well as Brooklyn will be key battlegrounds in the Democratic primary for governor, where Hochul will face off against city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi in a bid to keep the executive seat following the resignation of ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo amid a sexual harassment scandal.
“I’m grateful for the governor thinking about the outer boroughs. We want to see the communities most impacted by COVID to get investment. This project is a way to pay homage,” Richards said.
An MTA rep Sunday declined to share results of the authority’s “feasibility” study of the effort and said the initial review was merely a precursor to a comprehensive public examination of three options: “conventional” rail, light-rail or “bus rapid transit.
“We look forward to working with Borough President Richards as planning for the project gets underway,” spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a statement.