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Cuomo Announces $13B in Renovations for JFK Airport Improvement Plans



Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been big on shiny infrastructure projects, including the opening of the second span of the new bridge replacement for the old Tappan Zee Bridge. The governor has also talked before about the need to update and innovate the city airports, especially after former Vice President Joe Biden described La Guardia Airport as a “third-world country.”

While plans for a new and improved John F. Kennedy Airport have been in the works, the public is finally getting some of the new details. The improvements to existing infrastructure will be major and noticeable, but the biggest detail from Cuomo’s plans would mean boosting the airport by giving it two new terminals, which would take up space from some current terminals.

The plans would come at a cost though, estimated at $13 billion now after originally being estimated at $10 billion. The airport is not only one of the busiest in the country, serving a mega metropolitan area, but it’s also the gateway into America for a number of international travelers. The governor sees a need to make sure that these people get a world-class experience as they arrive in America and New York, instead of arriving to find outdated and inefficient infrastructure keeping them stranded and confused out in southern Queens.

The renderings also released give a preview as well for some of the improvements that could come, with some ideas getting outside of the box to try and reimagine what the airport experience can be like.

The city boasts plenty of great park space, and Queens has the most parkland out of all the boroughs. The renderings right now show plans for High Line-like parks fit down to scale and spreads throughout the airport. Also included in renderings are Chelsea Market, Flushing Meadows’s iconic Unisphere, and sculptures meant to also feature some of the city’s most notable and memorable images. The airport will even have a so-called “Central Park,” area. There’s no guarantee that these ideas will all come to fruition, with the plans and renderings subject to change.

Terminal One Group will head up the task of putting together the terminal that will be at the southern end of the airport, closer to the beach than to Manhattan. A number of airlines make up the group, including Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines, and Korea Air Lines. The project will

There is a planned expansion of the Van Wyck Expressway to ensure that more people can get to the airport and with less traffic. As a major thoroughfare, the expansion serves more than just people going to the airport. Locals will have to deal with construction and then a permanent increase in noise and air pollution from the increased capacity for transit.

No plans seem to be in place to incentivize or improve mass transit options. The Regional Planning Association’s Fourth Plan includes suggestions that could provide one-seat rides from midtown Manhattan that would only take about a half hour. The project, among other obstacles, heavily relies on reopening the decades-long abandoned Rockaway Beach branch right-of-way.

By: Linda Faya

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