New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has hired design firms AECOM and WSP to study feasibility of a new passenger rail line in New York City that could cost $1 billion, the agency said.

The line could run on a currently freight-only route, MTA said in its Jan. 22 announcement, stretching 16 miles from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Astoria, Queens. The $1.3-million study will look into potential subway, commuter rail or light rail service – which could in turn connect to other subways or Long Island Rail Road trains.

Regional Plan Association president and CEO Tom Wright said in a statement that service on the Bay Ridge Line would “cut construction and [right of way] acquisition costs since the rail tracks are already there.”

MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber added that the new line would "serve more neighborhoods and provide better connections to thousands of people" in Brooklyn and Queens, and that renovating the railway could increase "environmentally friendly freight rail."

Their comments about potential project savings come after rules were implemented to cut costs in the face of MTA’s potential 2022 $1 billion operating deficit.

It was unclear how long the feasibility study would take to complete.