After years of discussions, a brand new—and controversial—$2.1 billion AirTrain will likely be constructed, connecting LaGuardia Airport with the LIRR and seven prepare stations at Mets-Willets Level in jap Queens.
The Federal Aviation Affiliation authorized the plan on Tuesday, giving the Port Authority permission to “proceed with its proposal to assemble a rail system to supply a dependable transit choice for air vacationers and workers at LGA.” The FAA additionally famous it held two digital public workshops and three digital public hearings final September, and that 18 “completely different federal, state and native businesses have supplied enter all through the Environmental Impression Assertion (EIS) course of based mostly on their experience and authorities.” (You possibly can see the Last EIS right here.)
Governor Andrew Cuomo known as the plan a “dependable, environment friendly, and inexpensive transit connector worthy of its vacation spot.” He famous that years of labor has led to this second and that now, “as we come out of the COVID disaster, our state and our nation have a once-in-a-lifetime alternative to spend money on a resilient, transformative, and interconnected future, and right now’s announcement is a testomony to our ‘all aboard’ dedication to seizing it, in partnership with the Biden administration and Secretary Buttigieg.”
Whereas a mass transit choice to LaGuardia has lengthy been a aim, critics questioned Cuomo’s specific plan as a result of it really takes vacationers previous the airport. In 2015, The Transport Politic created a map displaying the routes of varied connector plans and advised that journey occasions really elevated with this plan.
The advocacy group Riverkeeper obtained FAA paperwork that included communications between the federal company and Port Authority. The NY Publish reported earlier this yr that, in a single alternate, FAA officers discovered, “A 36-minute door-to-door automotive trip may very well be fast[er] than 28 minute prepare trip when the time to journey from the door to the station platform is factored in.”
Riverkeeper has claimed, “Port Authority embellished the purported good thing about the AirTrain; cherry-picked its choice standards; erratically utilized these choice standards among the many alternate options; and excluded viable and desired ferry service from significant consideration”
The group additionally says that the AirTrain route over the World’s Truthful Promenade in East Elmhurst would “have an effect on close by houses, obscuring their views of the bay, inflicting vibrations, and growing noise and air air pollution that airport neighbors have already shouldered for many years.”
Native lawmakers are additionally sad:
This can be a enormous slap within the face by @NYGovCuomo to the residents of East Elmhurst. COVID has already taken a devastating toll on our neighbors. The very last thing we’d like is a multi-billion greenback self-importance undertaking that can additional have an effect on the well being & well-being of our communities. https://t.co/GhyswTjl5j
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) July 20, 2021
The Port Authority has maintained that this circuitous AirTrain route impacts residential areas the least, and stated in an announcement on Tuesday, “LaGuardia Airport is the one main airport on the East Coast with no rail mass transit hyperlink, and it’s well past time for that embarrassment to finish.”
The company additionally stated that as they start this building this summer season, they may supply “common engagement alternatives for native residents… to make sure transparency and accountability.”