LaGuardia Airport's $4 billion overhaul is approved by Port Authority – QNS.com

LaGuardia Airport’s $4 billion overhaul is approved by Port Authority

Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the $4 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a lease with LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the group who will spearhead the building and operation of a new state-of-the-art Terminal B, with a central hall and concourse and an air train station.

Two-thirds of the project is financed by private funds and existing passenger fees. According to a press release, the construction will begin shortly; a significant portion of the airport will be completed and opened 39 months after construction starts.

“This vote marks a critical step forward in our effort to overhaul LaGuardia Airport,” Cuomo said. “Our plan will fundamentally transform LaGuardia – replacing what is now an outdated and poorly designed complex with the world-class airport New York has always deserved. This represents a major milestone for the project – the first of many – and I look forward to seeing construction begin later this year.”

The renovations will create a single main terminal and plans call for a complete rebuild of Terminal B. LaGuardia Gateway Partners will construct a central hall to connect Terminal B and C and a main concourse in addition to new roads, utilities, runway improvements, a new west parking garage and other supporting infrastructure.

The terminal will be moved 600 feet closer to Grand Central Parkway to increase airport taxiways and reduce airport ground delays. The governor’s office estimates that the reconstruction will generate $1.3 billion in wages and $5.2 billion in regional economic activity.

The total cost of the overhaul has been disputed in the last several days, with John Degnan, the New Jersey-appointed chairman of the Port Authority, saying the $1.3 billion spent on the airport in 2004 should be added to the total.

Scott Rechler, the New York-appointed vice chairman of the Port Authority, argued at a recent meeting that the projects completed in 2004 would have been built without this terminal project, Crain’s reported.

“Modernizing our aging airport terminals demonstrates the Port Authority’s commitment to focusing on the region’s transportation infrastructure,” Rechler said in a statement. “To achieve operating efficiencies, offer our customers the best in world-class service and meet the anticipated rise in passenger demand, it is imperative that the agency continues to make these investments in our airports.”

The airport will remain open and functional during the construction phase.

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