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LaGuardia AirTrain Plan Gets $55M Boost from Port Authority

November 24th 2017

United Airlines jet liner

On Thursday, November 16, the Port Authority unanimously voted with no questions asked for granting another $55 million to the planning for an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport.

The project backed by Governor Cuomo for an AirTrain to connect Mets-Willets Point and the airport, has received approval by agency board members for additional funds to supplement to already $20 million allocated.

According to The Daily News, “The board heard a brief presentation about the next phase of the planning, but no members had any questions on it before voting. The money for the new transportation — a modern necessity for supporters of Cuomo’s transformation of the city’s airports, and a potential boondoggle to its critics — would cover technical planning, design work and developing an environmental-impact report.”

Spokesman for Cuomo, James Allen, said, “LaGuardia is the only major airport on the East Coast without a rail connection. This will be a game-changer and we’re excited it’s moving forward.”

The AirTrain project has no completed study or estimate of its cost, but already has $75 million for its planning. Past estimates for the project were put at $1 billion.

Port Authority director and former Cuomo aide Rick Cotton said, “The point of phase two planning is to finish the analysis and to consider the pros and cons of the alignment and to get into all the issues that we’re raising. We’re working on that. All points of view will be considered, that’s the point of the planning process.”

The Daily News reports, “Project supporters at the Port Authority say the airport needs a rail connection and that it would bring people from Midtown, Manhattan, on the No. 7 train, past LaGuardia to Mets-Willets Point, where flyers could catch an AirTrain to the airport — all in under a half hour. Port Chairman Kevin O’Toole of New Jersey said the vote was not taken ‘willy-nilly’ but after a lot of internal, private discussions.”

O’Toole said, “There’s a lot of enthusiasm, a … high-degree of concern that this has to get done right. To think that there isn’t an AirTrain or direct rail or a supplemental transportation system there, and the only one in the country, is frankly embarrassing.”

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