Long maligned as the airport most inaccessible by transit of the New York metropolitan area’s trio, LaGuardia may finally be getting the transport option it needs.
In a speech New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave Tuesday morning, he loosely laid out a plan for an AirTrain to connect LaGuardia Airport with the 7 train of the NYC subway and the Port Washington Branch of the LIRR via the Grand Central Parkway.
“You can’t get LaGuardia by train there and that really is inexcusable. And that we’re going to change over the next several years,” Mr. Cuomo said, according to the New York Observer.
The point of connection would be at Mets-Willets Point Station, roughly a mile and a half from the airport via the top of Grand Central Parkway. It would be about a 30-minute ride on the subway from Grand Central Station.
Cuomo’s administration has been quoted as saying the project will cost roughly $US450 million to build and take about five years to construct. However, those figures have been criticised by transit advocates as relatively optimistic, considering the ballooning price of capital projects in New York City.
Another point of criticism is the proposed route. The 7 train is already notoriously crowded, the trains are narrower the ones that connect to the JFK AirTrain, and the point of entry to the AirTrain at Willets Point Station necessitates a circular route from Manhattan — one that would take an estimated 50 minutes, as transit advocates note.
The question remains how Cuomo will be able to finance the $US450-million construction of an AirTrain for LaGuardia, when he still hasn’t quite figured out what to do with the MTA’s $US15 billion budget gap.
Another concern is that Cuomo has also declined to put a timeline on the construction of the new train, saying he “would not venture a guess as to timing.”
A group of business leaders interested in airport improvements called the Global Gateway Alliance praised the plan, but chastised Cuomo for his failure to set a timeline
“We do not need words or speeches; we need action — both on the state and federal level — to provide a budget and timeline quickly,” they said in a statement.
We’ll have to wait and see if the dream can become reality.
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