PHOTO: Central Hall view of the new LaGuardia Airport. Courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s Office
By Forum Staff
Construction has begun in earnest on the new LaGuardia Airport, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday.
Vice President Joe Biden joined Cuomo to deliver the news as work began on a new 1.3 million square-foot 35-gate terminal, along with a new parking garage and other supporting facilities. The transformative project, Cuomo said, marks the first complete rebuild of an airport in the United States in more than 20 years.
“LaGuardia is a key driver of New York’s economy and transportation network, but for far too long it has been outdated, overcrowded, and unworthy of the Empire State,” said Cuomo of the facility once infamously derided by Biden as “some Third World country.” “Today, we are not just breaking ground – we are building an entirely new LaGuardia and transforming it into a world-class transportation gateway for the 21st Century. This state has always been built to lead and now that legacy continues with this unprecedented project that will drive growth and generate continued prosperity for generations to come.”
The groundbreaking follows the recently executed lease agreement and financial close reached on June 1 by LaGuardia Gateway Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The new airport will begin to open to the public in 2018, with all portions of the redesigned Terminal B slated to open by the end of 2021.
The $4 billion redevelopment project, which will completely reconstruct Terminal B and create a central entry hall, together with Delta’s planned rebuild of its terminals, will transform LaGuardia into a single, unified main terminal with expanded transportation access, significantly increased taxiway space, and passenger amenities.
Construction begins with a roadway network and a new 3,000-space parking garage that will, Cuomo noted, significantly reduce congestion at the airport. The design reflects the recommendations from Cuomo’s Airport Advisory Panel, including the new light-filled Central Hall, where passengers arrive, and which connects Terminals B and C for the first time.
Construction will be on an expedited basis, Cuomo pledged, with operations at LaGuardia continuing uninterrupted over the course of the project. Half of the new gates in the new Terminal B will open to the public in 2018. The main terminal area is slated to open in early 2020, and a second set of gates will open in two phases – one later in 2020, and the last phase in 2021.
Cuomo on Tuesday also announced that beginning in September 2016, buses on the current Q70 route serving LaGuardia will be relaunched with a new look designed to help customers and tourists quickly find their way between the airport and two regional transit hubs in Queens that connect to five subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and seven bus lines.
The route, nicknamed the “LaGuardia Link,” will also become a Select Bus Service line, Cuomo added, which employs off-board fare technology that allows customers to pre-pay and enter and exit through any bus door, eliminating the need to wait to pay at a single-fare box, and decreasing dwell time at stops.