The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the
go-ahead for a new AirTrain at LaGuardia Airport.
The decision follows a months-long environmental review of
the Port Authority proposal to connect LGA to the New York City Transit Subway
7 Line and the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch at Mets-Willets
There will also be passenger walkways connecting to the LGA
Central Hall, a parking garage connector, public transportation and ground
Work on the $2 billion venture pushed by Governor Andrew
Cuomo and a slew of business organizations and transit leaders, could begin
construction immediately, creating 3,000 union construction jobs and driving
hundreds of millions of dollars in contracting opportunities to local,
minority, and women-owned businesses, according to A Better Way to LGA , the
group that corralled support for the venture.
“AirTrain LaGuardia’s benefits will continue to bolster our
economy for decades to come by creating a mass rail transit link to the airport
that will provide a fast and dependable ride to and from Midtown Manhattan of
30 minutes or less,” said the A Better Way to LGA consortium, that includes
REBNY, New York Building Congress and the Building & Construction Trades
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “The new LaGuardia
Airport—the first new airport in the United States in over 25 years and the
front door to New York—deserves a reliable, efficient, and affordable transit
connector worthy of its destination.
“With the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval today
of the LaGuardia AirTrain, that’s exactly what New Yorkers will get. This is
the culmination of years of advocacy by this administration and a key moment in
our efforts to rebuild New York’s infrastructure for the future.
“As we come out of the COVID crisis, our state and our
country have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a resilient,
transformative, and interconnected future, and today’s announcement is a
testament to our ‘all aboard’ commitment to seizing it, in partnership with the
Biden administration and Secretary Buttigieg.”
REBNY President James Whelan also hailed the news. “REBNY
applauds Governor Cuomo for his leadership on advancing the LaGuardia AirTrain
and thanks the Biden Administration for approving this plan and demonstrating
its commitment to making infrastructure a national priority.
“As New York continues to forward on the path to recovery, ongoing investment in key infrastructure projects such as the LaGuardia AirTrain will play a critical role in creating good jobs for New Yorkers, expanding reliable and affordable mass transit options, and strengthening our local and regional economies.”
The FAA held two virtual public workshops and three virtual
public hearings in September 2020 on the draft environmental review. The
meetings had a combined viewership of over 18,000 people, and the public
provided over 4,200 comments.
Eighteen different federal, state and local agencies provided
input throughout the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process based on
their expertise and authorities.
The FAA prepared the environmental review because the Port
Authority plans to request funding for the AirTrain through the Passenger
Facility Charge program. The program allows for the collection of fees added to
passenger tickets. Those proceeds can be used on certain qualifying airport
projects, subject to FAA approval.
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