A careful mixture of Pre-CU, CU and NGE features sounds interesting.
I have always been very strongly against AFK-grinders and think it is almost certainly a major factor in the game's economy becoming imbalanced, ways of stopping people from doing it (or severely limiting it) would be welcome.
Making ITV's very difficult to get would not be a good idea. Speaking as someone who did mostly crafting, you very often have to travel to very remote locations to find good resource spots. Limiting/changing ITV use would be a much better idea; like assigning each one with a certain number of uses before they have to be refuelled/recharged (bought) at a spaceport. Making the cost for refuelling the ITV's more expensive than spaceport ticket travel would naturally mean people would only use them when necessary.
Maybe a 1 hour cooldown perhaps. Honestly I never had an issue with buy tickets to shuttles to cities out in the middle of nowhere. Granted it cost you a bit to go to and from, but didn't the city benefit from having a shuttle in their city other than transportation? Didn't the city get a little profit from shuttle tickets so that it helped the cities citizens with expenses?
If not, I think it would be a nice bonus to add for the Project.