LaGuardia AirTrain on track to become a reality after FAA environmental approval

Transit

QUEENS — The long-planned LaGuardia AirTrain is on track to become a reality. 

Federal Aviation Administration officials have issued the final environmental impact statement. After reviews, comment periods and public sessions, the report outlines how the project could move ahead. 

For decades, supporters and opponents have spoken about various options from extending the N train to building dedicated bus lanes. 

Read the final report here

“Everyone listened to objections and suggestions. FAA took into account cost and economic feasibility,” said Tom Grech, Queens Chamber of Commerce President. 

It would connect to the No. 7 train and Long Island Rail Road at Willets Point by Citi Field. A criticism has been that passengers have to travel west to then head east to Manhattan.

As President of New York Building Congress, Carlo Scissura said it’s a win-win and the project that’s most likely to be able to be built. 

“Build, build, build. That’s how you get out from the pandemic,” he said. 

A subway extension would require negotiating rights with property owners.  

Frank Taylor, the president of the Ditmars Boulevard Block Association, is concerned with the impact on the people nearby, as well as his neighbors and the political aspect of the project. 

“The process has been flawed,” he said. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been supporting the AirTrain since the LGA redevelopment began. 

The project includes some money for homeowners if their view is altered and there’s millions to rebuild the nearby Flushing Bay Promenade. 

Shaul Picker is a Kew Gardens, Queens resident and transit advocate. On his Twitter account, he posted sections of the federal report. 

“There are cheaper ways to do it with a busway on the Q70,” he said. 

The initial cost was about $500 million and now it’s $2 billion. 

Final plans and budgets have to be drafted. The project would be paid for mostly through fees from riders and airport travelers. 

After 30 days, FAA will publish its “Record of Decision.” If approved, construction could begin in June 2021 and it could be done by 2025. 

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