NY Governor signs legislation for LaGuardia AirTrain project

WCN Editorial Team 27 Jun 2018 NORTH AMERICA TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a legislation to begin the process for building a new AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport.

The AirTrain LGA project is proposed to be established between the airport and the Long Island Rail Road Station and the 7 subway train at Mets-Willets Point in Flushing, Queens.

The legislation will facilitate multiple potential alignments to be considered during an environmental review of the project.

The mass-transit link between Midtown Manhattan and LaGuardia is expected to reduce vehicular congestion and delays for passengers travelling to and from the airport.

AirTrain LGA will offer trips of less than 30 minutes between the airport and New York Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal and also provide rail access from Long Island via the LIRR and the MTA’s 7 subway line.

The project will provide rail access as part of the ongoing $8bn redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport.

A consultant will be selected in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration to prepare the EIS and to oversee the process for the proposed environmental review.

The environmental review will begin later in 2018 and be completed by the end of 2019.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and conclude in 2022.

The legislation defines a corridor for the construction of the AirTrain LGA project and allows for alternative alignments to be developed within this corridor as part of an extensive environmental review process.

The State Department of Transportation will be authorised to acquire land owned by the City or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) within the corridor, without impacting private property.

Already, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has conducted meetings with officials, elected representatives, community groups and key stakeholders to elicit comments regarding potential AirTrain routes.

The Port Authority, which operates LaGuardia Airport, is working with the MTA to build a station complex at Mets-Willets Point, which will offer easy transfer options between the LIRR or 7-line and the new AirTrain, which will run every four minutes.

The 30-minute travel time between midtown Manhattan and the airport comprises a 16-minute journey on the LIRR between Moynihan/Penn Station or Grand Central and Willets Point, and a six-minute journey from the Willets Point Station to LaGuardia.

Over the past 18 months, Cuomo has taken several initiatives for building AirTrain LGA, including the selection of Parsons Brinckerhoff to lead preliminary engineering and design process for two new AirTrain stations at LaGuardia Airport’s new unified terminals, and construction of an AirTrain station at Mets-Willets Point and the system’s elevated guideway.

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Image: A rendering of the AirTrain at LaGuardia. Photo: courtesy of New York State.

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