Better Mass Transit

Booming mass transit use since the 1990s has put mass transit expansion squarely on the region’s agenda. However, limited funding, and in some cases, local opposition, makes every project a challenge.  Tri-State advocates for well-designed and cost-effective transit projects which strengthen urban centers or have the potential to drive redevelopment. The following is a guide to the region’s major proposals. 

Bus Rapid Transit

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a combination of service improvements that can drastically improve bus transit. BRT implementations range from what are essentially upgraded express buses to major transit systems capable of carrying 15,000 passengers or more per direction per hour, but all combine dedicated rights-of-way and measures to speed boarding to provide faster, more frequent, more reliable bus service. In the tri-state area, BRT is being studied or implemented for the I-287 corridor in the Hudson Valley; Central Avenue in Westchester County; New York City; Newark; Route 1 in New Jersey; and the Hartford-New Britain corridor in Connecticut. Visit TSTC's Bus Rapid Transit Clearinghouse for more information on this exciting transit mode.

New Jersey

New Jersey Transit has added significant capacity in recent years with new Hudson-Bergen and South Jersey River light rail lines, and with smart track connections within the commuter rail network that have created the highly successful “Midtown Direct” services.

One of the state's biggest transportation needs is the squeezed trans-Hudson crossings connecting New Jersey and New York. NJ's important transit project was the Access to the Region's Core rail tunnel under the Hudson River, which would have doubled the amount of service that could be run to and from New York City -- until it was canceled in 2010 by Gov. Chris Christie. New proposals, such as improvements to bus service, Amtrak's "Gateway Project" rail tunnel, and an extension of New York City's No. 7 subway line, are all being studied.

NJ Transit continues to extend the Hudson-Bergen line north- and southward. On the commuter rail system, Middlesex-Ocean-Monmouth and several other potential projects are in planning stages, not all without controversy over routing or general utility.  Links to NJ Transit construction projects can be found here.


New York

The New York MTA is expanding transit capacity in a big way, with tunnels in the ground for the Second Avenue Subway and LIRR East Side Access projects. But the region's growth depends on continued transit expansion. Within the city, expanded service is dependent on continued investment in subway and bus rapid transit improvements, funded through the MTA's capital program. In the suburbs, a construction of a third track on the LIRR's Main Line and an effective transit system for the Hudson Valley will be important.

Third Track on LIRR Main Line

A third track on the LIRR's Main Line is critical if Long Island is to reap the full benefit of investments in East Side Access and Jamaica capacity improvements. The third track will allow increased capacity in the peak and reverse commute directions, and provide a "passing lane" to get around stalled trains.

LIRR East Side Access

The project will connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal through an unused level of the existing 63rd Street transit tunnel, with new tunneling under the East Side to Park Avenue and a new track through Sunnyside Yard to the East River.  The Campaign, via the Empire State Transportation Alliance, has backed funding for the project. Official project site.

Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Transit

NYSDOT plans to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge and add transit to the I-287 corridor connecting Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York. Current plans are for a bus rapid transit system through the I-287 corridor and a new commuter rail line between Rockland and Grand Central in NYC.

Second Avenue Subway

This project dates back to the 1920s, before the elevated trains on NYC's East Side were torn down to make way for development. The first segment of the new subway would run between 96th and 63rd Streets, linking to the Broadway line. It is planned to eventually reach Lower Manhattan.  Tri-State, via the Empire State Transportation Alliance, has backed funding for the project. Official project site.



Since 2008, ConnDOT Commissioner Joseph Marie has expressed greater interest in transit than his predecessors at the agency and has put significant momentum behind improving transit service and supporting key transit expansion projects. This newfound focus has been centered on improving the New Haven commuter rail line (managed jointly by Metro-North Railroad and Connecticut DOT) and improving service on Metro-North’s branch lines as well as key expansion efforts like full time New Haven-New London service on Shore Line East (currently most trains stop in Old Saybrook), the Hartford-New Britain Bus Rapid Transit project and the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail project.

New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail

This ConnDOT project would add commuter rail service between New Haven, CT and Springfield, MA and include new stations in Enfield, North Haven/Hamden, and Newington. The project envisions anything from peak-hour commuter service to a "full build-out" that would add an additional track to the Northeast Corridor in the project service area, allowing for all-day service.

Hartford-New Britain Busway

This 9.4-mile transit facility with 11 stations will connect downtown New Britain and downtown Hartford via a straight, direct, and exclusive facility for buses operating outside the flow of regular traffic. Service on the busway will be very frequent and carry over 16,000 riders a day.


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