Planned AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport seems doomed

The proposed LaGuardia AirTrain plan seems to be slowing down and possibly switching gears as Gov. Kathy Hochul suggests the Port Authority look at alternative transit solutions.

"This project has been long overdone and too much has been done for it," says East Elmhurst resident Frank Taylor.

And, it appears Gov. Hochul agrees with the Queens' community about the $2 billion LaGuardia AirTrain project, saying in part:

"I have asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine alternative mass transit solutions for reducing car traffic and increasing connectivity to LaGuardia Airport."

The AirTrain, a project that has been pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would connect the airport to the Mets – Willets Point station in a promised 30 minutes.

"I think it’s a good idea," says one traveler at LaGuardia.

It would also reduce congestion on the roads and create thousands of construction jobs.

In July, the Port Authority cleared its biggest hurdle when the federal aviation administration green-lit the project.

But the pushback has been huge from neighbors, state lawmakers, environmental organizations, transit advocates, and local businesses.

"We employ 90% of people from local neighborhoods. Those people are gonna be out of jobs when the construction is going on," said Vishal Sharma, co-owner of World’s Fair Marina Restaurant and Banquet Hall.   

After having to shut down for 15 months due to the pandemic, Sharma is worried new construction will drive away much-needed business. 

On the other hand, for travelers touching down in New York, hopping onto an Air Train wouldn’t be so bad.  

"In Florida we have a lot more options to get around. Buses… everything is right there."

It’s unclear exactly what Gov. Hochul will do next. One possibility is that she could direct the Port Authority to stop the work and restart the review for an alternate proposal.