Brakes have been officially blamed for plans to build a $ 2.1 billion air train to LaGuardia Airport.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the operating agencies of the airport, said Tuesday afternoon that it would “pause further action” on a project strongly promoted by former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Cuomo’s successor, Governor Kathy Hokul, called for a review of alternatives to the AirTrain program, which has been criticized by community groups and elected officials.
Some of the complaints were that the unobtrusive route discouraged riders and undermined the value of their property around LaGuardia in northern Queens.
Despite these oppositions, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the AirTrain program in late July, paving the way for the Port Authority.
However, three weeks ago, two Queens-based community and environmental groups, Riverkeeper, appealed to cancel the project, claiming that the FAA had ruled out some alternatives without proper consideration.
The group also requested the FAA to suspend approval of the project. The FAA insisted that it oppose the permit to stay at the Port Authority until Tuesday. The agency, in part, claimed that the suspension of reviews requested by Mr. Hokur made the stay unnecessary.
“At the request of Governor Hokur, the Port Authority is undertaking a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “The agency works in close consultation with independent experts and stakeholders to complete the work as quickly as possible, in line with the need for a thorough and rigorous review.”
Michael Dulong, Senior Attorney at Riverkeeper, welcomed this review. “We are looking for the best mode of transportation for the region and the least impact on the community and the environment,” Duron said.
Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hochul said last week, calling for a review of “alternative mass transit solutions” that reduce car traffic and increase access to airports. Yawker. “
Cuomo was pressing the Port Authority to develop a rail link to LaGuardia before suddenly resigning this summer after state reports revealed that he had sexually harassed multiple women. ..
The ongoing overhaul of the airport was one of the governor’s pet projects. During his tenure, other elected civil servants did not publicly oppose the air train program, even though estimated costs rose from $ 450 million to $ 2.1 billion in just a few years.
All of that money came from the Port Authority, which is jointly managed by the Governor of New York and the Governor of New Jersey, and the fare was added to the plane ticket. Being on the air train at Kennedy International Airport, air train riders will be charged a fare. The current fare is $ 7.75.
However, after Mr. Cuomo lost power, some elected officials became daring to ask for a review of the AirTrain plan or a complete abolition.
“We’ve been dealing with unusual situations all the time. We’ve created a culture of horror, a governor who doesn’t work with anyone, and rushed the project, good or bad,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio recently. He told reporters at a briefing in the city. hole. “And now we have the opportunity to see this in the light of the sun.”
One of the most common criticisms of the project was the so-called wrong route. To arrive in Manhattan, arriving travelers must leave the airport further east, head to a station near Citi Field, and return to Subway Line 7 or the Long Island Rail Road.
Critics also say the rising costs will make the project one of the most expensive rail lines in the world.
In its defense, Port Authority officials emphasized that the chosen route from Willets Point along the Grand Central Parkway has the least disruption to residential areas. Alternatives, including the extension of the subway N-ray from Astoria, would require the acquisition of private property, they said.
In addition to subway extensions that are likely to have to be built by the financially distressed Metropolitan Transportation Authority, other options include high-speed bus services, ferries, or more direct route airtrains. It will be.