A new subway line connecting south-east Brooklyn neighborhoods, including East Flatbush, Flatlands and Marine Park, could come to fruition thanks to a possible $4 trillion federal infrastructure package.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the national package, dubbed 'Build Back Better,' could include funding for an extended subway line to the area of Brooklyn currently without any subway connection. The package will take center stage in Washington after President Joe Biden has got through his coronavirus relief package.
"There's some talk if we get the $4 trillion that we could build a subway line to southeast Brooklyn, which is a subway desert," Schumer told the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and reported by the New York Post.
Prior to the pandemic, the MTA was conducting a $5 million transit improvement study into the Utica Avenue corridor in Brooklyn, to find possible solutions to public transport in the underserved, highly populated area.
A range of upgrades were on the table with the study, including extending subway service; building a light rail line; or converting the B46 bus route into street-level "bus rapid transit" to provide more frequent service.
The B46 route is the third busiest in the city and prior to the pandemic, MTA said it carried close to 44,000 a day. Riders reported having to wait up to 30 minutes for a bus.
The MTA looked at extending a subway line from either Fulton Street's A/C station or Eastern Parkway's 3/4 stop south through East Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Mill Basin.
In a statement to Brooklyn Reporter about the proposed federal infrastructure plan, MTA's Shams Tarek said the agency was grateful to Schumer for securing billions of dollars in federal funding, "to help save the MTA's basic services during this pandemic."
"This study looks at different transit improvement concepts using various modes and will be evaluated along with other major regional transit expansion projects as we build the next capital program."
On the Zoom call with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Schumer also said some funding in the federal package could go towards the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway's triple-cantilever section around Brooklyn Heights. However, he said it was up to government authorities to determine the plan for that.