Transit advocates call on Hochul to abandon LaGuardia AirTrain

Transit advocates call on Hochul to abandon LaGuardia AirTrain

Transit advocates are calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to abandon a $2.1billion pet project created by disgraced predecessor  to build a monorail train between LaGuardia Airport and eastern Queens. 

The project, which was first proposed in 2015, would run 1.5 miles long and connect between LaGuardia Airport in East Elmhurst and Willets Point, where it would connect to the 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road. 

However, the project has been controversial since its inception. 

Critics continue to question the validity of the route, arguing its ‘backwards’ and would send travelers further east from LaGuardia to an disadvantageous LIRR line, before doubling back toward the airport. 

Others complained it was little more than a vanity project by Cuomo, who was forced to step down as New York governor on August 23, amid multiple sexual harassment allegations. 

Transit advocates want New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to abandon a $2.1 billion pet project created by predecessor Andrew Cuomo to build a monorail train between LaGuardia Airport and eastern Queens.

Transit advocates want New York Gov.

Kathy Hochul to abandon a $2.1 billion pet project created by predecessor Andrew Cuomo to build a monorail train between LaGuardia Airport and eastern Queens.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has not provided a public statement on her position regarding the LaGuardia monorail

New York Gov.

Kathy Hochul has not provided a public statement on her position regarding the LaGuardia monorail

The project is being pushed by The Port Authority, which is still run by Cuomo's hand-picked executive director Rick Cotton, in addition to the PA's Board of Commissioners still being packed with Cuomo appointees

 The project is being pushed by The Port Authority, which is still run by Cuomo’s hand-picked executive director Rick Cotton, in addition to the PA’s Board of Commissioners still being packed with Cuomo appointees

‘The LaGuardia monorail is a big Cuomo- ego boondoggle,’ said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany.

‘This is a zombie project that should be put to bed.’ 

Many questioned the wisdom in building a train to get to the train to the airport, suggesting it would be easier to just build a direct line to the LaGuardia.   

‘We have a proposal going back to 2015 for a free Q70 bus line, which would get people to the airport in a really short amount of time and at little expense to the MTA and no expense to riders,’ said Riders Alliance spokesman Danny Pearlstein. 

The project,  first proposed in 2015, would run 1.5 miles long and connect between LaGuardia Airport in East Elmhurst and Willets Point, where it would connect to the 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road

The project,  first proposed in 2015, would run 1.5 miles long and connect between LaGuardia Airport in East Elmhurst and Willets Point, where it would connect to the 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road

Transit advocates call on New York Governor Horchul to abandon Cuomo's $2.1 billion LaGuardia AirTrain vanity project

Transit advocates call on New York Governor Horchul to abandon Cuomo’s $2.1 billion LaGuardia AirTrain vanity project

Pearlstein believes a new governor in office will be ‘an opportunity for a total reset, and rethinking our priorities.’  

‘There are other projects that the governor can choose from to ensure that we have a viable recovery across sectors,’ he added. 

Other concerns surrounding the project include the staggering cost, which was originally estimated at $500 million, as wells as environmental concerns. 

In April, Rep.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into Cuomo’s Air Tran project, saying she disagrees with it overall. 

‘It is billions and billions and billions of dollars on an infrastructure project that doesn’t make logistical sense,’ Ocasio-Cortez said during a virtual town hall meeting at the time. 

Ocasio-Cortez said the Air Train would cut through a portion of her district in East Elmhurst as she continued to mock the proposal.   

The Bronx native said the purpose of any successful Air Train project is to minimize the use of cars to the airport, while making a faster and easier commute to LaGuardia.’

Other concerns surrounding the project include the staggering cost, which was originally estimated at $500 million, as wells as environmental concerns

 Other concerns surrounding the project include the staggering cost, which was originally estimated at $500 million, as wells as environmental concerns

Despite ongoing criticism, the Federal Aviation Administration greenlit the project in July, with documents from 2019 revealing that FAA officials believed the route would be slower than driving

Despite ongoing criticism, the Federal Aviation Administration greenlit the project in July, with documents from 2019 revealing that FAA officials believed the route would be slower than driving

Regardless of pushback from transit advocates and politicians, The PA defended the LGA AirTrain, referring to it as a positive for passengers and the environment, and said opposition was misguided

 Regardless of pushback from transit advocates and politicians, The PA defended the LGA AirTrain, referring to it as a positive for passengers and the environment, and said opposition was misguided

‘The current proposed scope of the Air Train project is way more difficult and cumbersome than taking a car,’ she said.

‘The actual plan for it doesn’t make sense.’  

New York State Senator, Jessica Ramos also chimed in on the project, calling it a ‘huge slap in the face.’ 

‘COVID has already taken a devastating toll on our neighbors.
The last thing we need is a multi-billion dollar vanity project that will further affect the health & well-being of our communities,’ she tweeted in July.

Despite ongoing criticism, the Federal Aviation Administration greenlit the project in July, despite documents from 2019 revealing that FAA officials believed the route would be slower than driving.

The project is being pushed by The Port Authority, which is still run by Cuomo’s hand-picked executive director Rick Cotton, in addition to the PA’s Board of Commissioners still being packed with Cuomo appointees.

‘Cotton will push this project until his last breath,’ a source familiar with the deliberations told the New York Post. 

Regardless of pushback from transit advocates and politicians, The PA defended the LGA AirTrain, referring to it as a positive for passengers and the environment, and said opposition was misguided.     

Hochul has not publicly stated her position on the LaGuardia monorail, JetBlack but a rep for the governor said she’s currently working with the PA to  ‘ensure transparency and robust engagement.’   

‘Governor Hochul is committed to a world-class airport and transportation network, and she is working with the Port Authority, community members, elected officials, and advocates to ensure transparency and robust engagement,’ said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.