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Plan for LaGuardia AirTrain to be reviewed

By | October 13, 2021

Project, already approved by FAA, placed on hold after New York governor calls for look at alternatives

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Illustration of elevated rail line at airport terminal
Illustration of elevated rail line at airport terminal
A rendering shows the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain line. The project has been placed on hold by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for further review (Image: A Better Way to LGA coalition)

NEW YORK — The plan to build an Air Train connection between LaGuardia Airport and rail and subway stations in Queens has been put on hold by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The New York Daily News reports Port Authority officials said Tuesday that the plan would be halted while the agency conducts a review of the plan requested New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul last week asked the agency to seek alternatives to the project, which recently received federal environmental approval [see “LaGuardia AirTrain project gets FAA approval,” Trains News Wire, July 21, 2021.] At the time, the Port Authority said construction could start in 2022.

Map showing La Guardia AirTrain and connections
A map shows the planned La Guardia AirTrain and its connections to Manhattan. (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

The 1.5-mile, $2.1 billion project would connect LaGuardia to the Long Island Railroad and New York City Transit No. 7 subway line at Willits Point. Its indirect route, which takes passengers southeast from the airport to connect to westbound trains to Manhattan, and the requirement of a second fare to complete the trip, have been the subject of criticism. Local residents have also voiced concerns over its possible impact.

Other alternatives which have previously been considered include an extension of the N line subway and an express bus lane.

7 thoughts on “Plan for LaGuardia AirTrain to be reviewed

  1. In the 1960’s, New York State development czar Robert Moses made sure no rail transit connected anything to anything. Thus as a student at Columbia at that time, getting to LGA Airport was a chore. Here we have a proposed project to improve getting from LaGuardia from a hassle to, a zillion dollars later, a hassle.

    The Germans and English must laugh at us, proposing to spend all this money for a train from LGA to nowhere.

    1. You will be glad to know that these days there is a limited stop bus that runs from Columbia, across 125th St, directly to LGA. Of course it is subject to traffic problems.

  2. The impasses between Port Authority and the MTA are legendary.
    Wouldn’t it make more sense to extend the 7 line the 1.5 miles to LGA?
    A one seat, one fare ride to Manhattan. 7 is a busy line, but maybe alternating trains to LGA/Flushing. Flushing is the last stop east after Willits. Also, folks wanting NYP could change to LIRR.
    Never happen-MTA/Port Authority.

  3. The LGA AirTrain initiative has gotten as far as it has by the sheer will of the former and now disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This was a pet project of his and he was not going to let any alternatives, now matter how much sense they made, see the light of day. Sheer force of will is how Cuomo got the new I-87/Tappan Zee Bridge permitted, funded partially by the Obama administration, and built, where former governors failed. And btw, the Obama people facilitated this bridge that has even more traffic lanes than its predecessor even though Cuomo trashed every plan brought forth for a transit component, presumably to link MNR’s East-of-Hudson and West-of-Hudson services, instead of adding more traffic lanes. So much for Mr. Obama’s alleged concerns about climate change/global warming. Getting back to the LGA AirTrain, yes absolutely extensions or branches off either the Flushing Line #7 service or the Astoria Line’s N-Train are the way to go. Don’t know if any route examinations and cost studies (compared to AirTrain) have been conducted but NYCity Subway should have the whole show. The #7-Train has the advantage of going to the Grand Central area. And just think how the NYC-northern NJ region could have been connected if the much talked about plan to extend the #7 beyond Times Square to NJ Transit’s Secaucus Jct had been accomplished.

  4. One reason they did not want the subway in there is the direct MTA bus fare is $2.75. Subway fare would be the same. JFK and Newark Airtrains are $7.75 PLUS what you paid to get to the connecting point.

  5. Extending the subway is problematic… How many people per trip would use it? If it takes a whole subway train an hour to make the additional round trip, or maybe only 30 minutes, that makes a train set unable to serve the busier part of the line while it goes to the airport to deliver a handful of passengers. You’ll need more train sets and overall utilization goes down.

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