Photo Courtesy of Kevin Coughlin/Office of the Governor
According to Gov. Cuomo, “AirTrain LGA will set an example of comprehensive transit infrastructure for the rest of the nation, and will pay dividends for decades.
By Forum Staff
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation to advance the process to build a new AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport.
According to the administration, the new measure will allow multiple potential alignments to be considered during an upcoming environmental review of the project, planned between LaGuardia and the Long Island Rail Road Station and the 7 train at Mets-Willets Point in Flushing.
The governor also noted that the purpose of the AirTrain LGA is to establish a reliable, convenient means of travel, with less-than 30-minute trips between the airport and New York Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. It will also provide rail access from all of Long Island via the LIRR as well as the 7 line.
The legislation, which was sponsored in the State Senate by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Corona), defines a corridor within which the AirTrain LGA project could be constructed and allows, within this corridor, for alternative alignments to be developed and considered as part of an extensive environmental review process, with required public participation. That corridor was created in consultation with local community members and elected officials, Cuomo noted. No route can be finalized before the environmental review, which will be led by the Federal Aviation Administration, is completed. Under the new law, the State Department of Transportation would be authorized to acquire parcels of land already owned by the City or the Mteropolitan Transportation Authority within the corridor. No private property would be impacted, Cuomo pledged.
“The new LaGuardia Airport will provide an improved customer experience with better access to airlines and public transportation for all passengers – essential to the airport’s transformation,” the governor said. “AirTrain LGA will set an example of comprehensive transit infrastructure for the rest of the nation, and will pay dividends for decades by connecting riders to transit hubs across the metropolitan area, boosting passenger growth across all airlines, and providing a more efficient means of travel for generations to come.”
Additionally, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates LaGuardia, is working with the MTA to build a new station complex at Mets-Willets Point, with easy transfer options between the LIRR or 7-line and the new AirTrain, which will run approximately every four minutes. The total estimated travel time between midtown Manhattan and the airport of less than 30 minutes is comprised of an approximate 16-minute journey on the LIRR between Moynihan/Penn Station or Grand Central and Willets Point, followed by an approximate six-minute journey from the Willets Point Station to LaGuardia.
“For the AirTrain LGA project, it’s not a matter of whether, but a matter of where, which will be largely determined by the local community as part of the environmental review process,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “AirTrain LGA is an important component of the massive infrastructure overhaul underway to transform LaGuardia Airport into a 21st century, state-of-the-art, reliable airport.”
Construction on the new AirTrain project is anticipated to start in 2020 and conclude in 2022.