Hochul seeks ‘alternatives’ to LaGuardia AirTrain

A rendering of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain.
Courtesy of the Governor’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul said Monday that she wants the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to look at alternatives to the proposed $2.1 billion LaGuardia AirTrain — casting further doubt on the future of the pet project pushed by her disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo. 

“New Yorkers deserve world-class transportation to world-class airports. I have asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine alternative mass transit solutions for reducing car traffic and increasing connectivity to LaGuardia Airport,” Hochul said in an Oct. 4 statement. “We must ensure that our transportation projects are bold, visionary, and serve the needs of New Yorkers. I remain committed to working expeditiously to rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century and to create jobs – not just at LaGuardia, but at all of our airports and transit hubs across New York.”

The announcement comes after Hochul said last week she would “examine” the plans to build a 2.3-mile elevated rail line between the Queens airport and the Mets-Willets Point stations on the 7 line and the Long Island Rail Road. 

The project got the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration back in July, following Cuomo’s resignation in August, a growing slate of local politicians and advocates have called on Hochul to postpone or derail the pricey people mover entirely.

The project has drawn criticism for not offering a one-seat ride from the airport to Manhattan, and for taking travelers headed to the island the wrong way east before they transfer. 

Other options that would have offered a one-seat ride, but which were dismissed during an environmental review, included extending the N/W subway line, building out better bus service, or launching ferry service. 

Environmentalist and neighborhood advocates took their concerns before the US Court of Appeals and sued the FAA and the Port Authority last month for failing to consider other possible transit options. 

The Port Authority’s executive director Rick Cotton maintained last Thursday during the bi-state agency’s monthly board meeting that the AirTrain was the best way forward due to it not cutting through any residential neighborhoods, but said officials would provide “whatever review Governor Hochul desires.”

Port Authority spokesman Thomas Topousis referred a request for comment back to Cotton’s statements from last week.