Hochul Slams Brakes on La Guardia AirTrain Project; Seeking Alternative

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The much-hyped LaGuardia Airport AirTrain project, a $2.1 billion undertaking which was supposed to connect NYC easier to LA Guardia, was abruptly axed by New York’s new Governor Kathy Hochul. Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

By: Jared Evan

The much-hyped LaGuardia Airport AirTrain project, a $2.1 billion undertaking which was supposed to connect NYC easier to LA Guardia, was abruptly axed by New York’s new Governor Hochul.

The AirTrain was a key component of the years-long effort to overhaul LaGuardia (LGA) from a national disgrace to a world-class airport.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Governor Hochul commented on her decision. “I don’t feel obligated to accept what I have inherited,” she said, before adding, “There were alternatives on the table that even the FAA said that people were saying people were not looking at as close as they should.”

“I have asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine alternative mass transit solutions for reducing car traffic and increasing connectivity to LaGuardia Airport,” Hochul said in a statement Monday afternoon

“We must ensure that our transportation projects are bold, visionary, and serve the needs of New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “I remain committed to working expeditiously to rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century and to create jobs – not just at LaGuardia, but at all of our airports and transit hubs across New York.”

The Points Guy Blog pointed out: opponents, such as Queens congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have said it would be faster to take a cab or bus to Midtown than the AirTrain. Making matters worse, a study by the watchdog group Reinvent Albany claimed just 6,000 riders would use the AirTrain. If that turned out to be accurate, it would put the price tag on the AirTrain at roughly $350,000 per passenger.

In a rare moment AOC correctly pointed out the route would require Manhattan-bound riders to first travel east — away from the island — before connecting to the subway at Willets Point and then heading back west, making it a more time-consuming option, deeming it useless.

The AirTrain was a top priority of disgraced former Governor Cuomo, who obsessively pushed the project, arrogantly ignoring all opposition and criticism from some transit advocates and even officials at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority, the bi-state agency that oversees the regional airports and would have built and operated it. Governor Cuomo was more interested in building a legacy, than anything else. His legacy was shattered, when the façade was stripped away with allegations of sexual harassment, and thousands of dead senior citizens as the result of his disastrous management of the COVID pandemic, particularly in nursing homes.

NY Post pointed out: In the last week alone, the AirTrain picked up newfound skeptics and opponents including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and two of the borough’s most powerful state senators, Leroy Comrie and Mike Gianaris.

NY Post also pointed out: State Sen. Jessica Ramos, whose district encompasses part of the proposed project, called Hochul’s decision to seek alternatives “great movement in the right direction.”