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Port Authority reveals possible alternatives to LaGuardia AirTrain

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A rendering of the proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia.
Office of the Governor

More than four months after Governor Kathy Hochul hit the brakes on a proposal to build a $2.1 billion AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a set of alternative options late Wednesday that could connect travelers to the Queens airport via public transit.

The Port Authority released 14 alternative options Wednesday, including two subway extension, five light rail routes, five bus options, ferry service, and so-called “emerging technologies.”

The bi-state agency also announced there will be two in-person evening workshops for the public to give feedback, starting in two weeks.

A subway extension could branch off from the N and W lines at the 30th Ave. station in Astoria and run along the Grand Central Parkway as an elevated line, before dipping underground closer to the airport.

Or a train could continue north from to the line’s current terminus at Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station, heading north on 31st Street, before turning east and going along 19th Avenue to the airport.

One of two possible subway extensions to LaGuardia Airport the Port Authority proposed as an alternative to the AirTrain.Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Another proposal would be to install dedicated bus lanes for the Q70 line, which would also connect to Hochul’s proposed Interborough Express in Jackson Heights.

Bus rapid transit could depart from the Astoria Boulevard subway station and head east on Astoria Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway to the terminals.

One light rail possibility basically mimics the original AirTrain route to Willets Point, while another tram goes all the way south to Jamaica station, connecting to the JFK AirTrain.

Ferry boats would go from Pier 11 at Wall Street up the East River to E. 34th Street and E. 90th Street — matching current NYC Ferry routes going to Astoria and Soundview — before branching off to LaGuardia.

A proposal for a light rail would connect all the way to the other Queens airport JFK.Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The final slide includes a sample of futuristic options, including “narrow tunnels with electric vehicles,” which sound similar to the Hyperloop by entrepreneur Elon Musk, or self-driving shuttles and buses.

After Hochul in October asked the Authority to go back to the drawing board on the AirTrain — a pet project of her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, which was criticized for going the wrong way east and away from Manhattan — the agency in November convened a panel of three transit and airport experts to review the project.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subways and buses, is also a “key participant” in the study.

The two feedback sessions at the LaGuardia Marriott Hotel in East Elmhurst on Wednesday, March 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.; and on Thursday, March 24, at the Astoria World Manor, from 6 to 8 p.m.

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