Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a massive plan on Monday to rebuild LaGuardia Airport from the ground up.
Speaking at the Association for a Better New York's luncheon at the Times Square Sheraton, Cuomo joined Vice President Joe Biden and told him the airport will transform LaGuardia from its "third world" feel into a modern facility.
In addition to a 240% increase in space, the airport will get newly designed terminals, an AirTrain to Willet's Point and ferry service.
"It's not a plan, it's not a sketch, it's not a dream, it's not a vision, it is actually happening," the governor said. He added: "This is what new York deserves and has deserved for a long time."
The Port Authority is expected to begin the $4 billion first part of the project on the western side of the airport sometime next year.
Biden said he was very pleased with the plan and touted the economic and infrastructure improvements that will boost the city in a global economy.
"Governor, I wish everything I said that was truthful and controversial would turn out this way," he joked.
Cuomo joked that the vice president's remarks criticizing LaGuardia Airport were "prophetic."
Global Gateway Alliance, an organization that seeks to improve the region's airports, said it agreed with most of the proposals put forward by the governor's office. However, the organization said budgets and timelines needed to be heeded strictly.
"For too long, our airports have been caught in big modernization plans and small actions," said Global Gateway Alliance founder Joseph Sitt. "Today's announcement should signal the beginning of a new era of fast and efficient overhauls to the region's vital gateways."
Ground is to be broken next year, with most facilities to be accessible to the public within three years.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also praised the much needed overhaul but called for a study to make sure nearby residents aren't inconvenienced by the years of work.
"As much as LaGuardia and JFK International are tremendous economic assets to Queens and to the region, with them has come the need to mitigate the direct, daily impacts of growth upon the thousands of families immediately surrounding them," she said in a statement.
(With Emily Ngo)