LaGuardia Airtrain on track as Cuomo signs legislation

LaGuardia Airtrain on track as Cuomo signs legislation
The JFK Airport Airtrain system will likely be a model for the proposed LaGuardia Airtrain.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to advance the process to build a new AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport. The Governor’s action marks another critical step toward making a mass-transit link between Midtown Manhattan and LaGuardia a reality, which will help reduce vehicular congestion and delays for passengers traveling to and from the airport.

AirTrain LGA seeks 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 MTA’s 7 subway line.

“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,” Governor Cuomo 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.”

Said Tom Grech, President of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, “Putting travelers on rail and taking cars off the road will primarily benefit those who work and live in Queens, and one need only look at the JFK and Newark Air Trains to understand they took literally millions of vehicles off the road, Creating regular, predictable service to and from Willets Point into the city – approximately 15 minutes to Penn Station via LIRR – will greatly benefit local commuters in that part of Queens who don’t currently have a fast option to get into the city”

In coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the steps include the selection of a consultant to prepare the EIS and to oversee the process for the proposed environmental review. The environmental review is slated to begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2019.

Some of the points Construction is anticipated to start in 2020 and conclude in 2022; Action Allows for Routes Identified By Local Community to Be Considered in Environmental Review Process;

Cuomo praised Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and State Senator Jose Peralta for their efforts in passing legislation to consider alternative routes that would lessen the potential impacts of AirTrain LGA on residents, while supporting LaGuardia Airport’s ongoing modernization.

The Port already has conducted numerous meetings with local elected officials, community groups and other stakeholders to elicit comments regarding potential AirTrain routes ahead of the formal environmental review process. The agency will continue to actively seek further input.

The Port 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 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 Penn Station or Grand Central and Willets Point, followed by an approximate 6-minute journey from the Willets Point.

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