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US Rail link to LaGuardia Airport put on hold after criticism

02:45  13 october  2021
02:45  13 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

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A proposed billion rail link between LaGuardia Airport and the Long Island Rail Road has been the subject of fierce debate between those who believe it is critical to the success of the ongoing air . Supporters of the AirTrain link for LaGuardia Airport , as pictured in a rendering, praise the project's potential to create jobs, ease traffic and revitalize Queens areas. Others are skeptical about costs, impact and routes used. Credit: THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY.

AirTrain LaGuardia is a proposed 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) people mover system and elevated railway in New York City, United States, that would provide service to LaGuardia Airport in Queens. It would connect with the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in Willets Point

NEW YORK (AP) — A $2 billion project to build a rail link connecting New York City to LaGuardia Airport was officially put on hold Tuesday, after weeks of criticism from public officials and a lawsuit from neighborhood and environmental groups.

FILE - This Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, file photo shows the JFK airport Airtrain, left, on overhead tracks above Long Island Rail Road trains near Jamaica Station in Queens, N.Y. Plans to build a similar rail link connecting New York City to LaGuardia Airport has been put on hold after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had criticized the project. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, it is pausing the project to consider alternatives. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - This Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, file photo shows the JFK airport Airtrain, left, on overhead tracks above Long Island Rail Road trains near Jamaica Station in Queens, N.Y. Plans to build a similar rail link connecting New York City to LaGuardia Airport has been put on hold after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had criticized the project. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, it is pausing the project to consider alternatives. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

In a news release, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it is pausing the project to consider alternatives.

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Transit advocates are putting on a full-court press to persuade Gov. Kathy Hochul to derail the .1 billion pet project pushed by disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo — building the controversial “wrong-way” AirTrain between LaGuardia Airport and eastern Queens. “The Federal Aviation Administration, based on a thorough independent review, fully approved the AirTrain, which will create the first rail mass transit link to LaGuardia Airport . Opposition to rail mass transit that will get millions of cars off the street and reduce greenhouse gases without touching a single piece of private property

Airport -goers coming from Manhattan would have to go several miles past LaGuardia to Willets Point before catching the AirTrain back to the terminals. A more direct alternative would be an AirTrain or subway extension from the existing subway line in Astoria. That idea, however, has been shot down repeatedly by The proposed airport connection would cost at least .05 billion based on the FAA’s report. Full funding for the project has yet to be set aside and comes at a time when municipal budgets, including those of LaGuardia operator the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, have been hit

In recent weeks, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had criticized the project, which was championed by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo. Democratic Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who represents part of the area the link would pass through, also has spoken out against it, as has outgoing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued environmental approval in July but recently had asked the Port Authority to reconsider in light of a lawsuit filed by neighborhood and environmental groups.

“At Governor Hochul’s request, the Port Authority is undertaking a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport,” the news release said.

Preliminary construction on the roughly $2 billion, 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) elevated link was to begin this year.

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LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA, ICAO: KLGA, FAA LID: LGA) /ləˈɡwɑːrdiə/ is an airport in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York City. Covering 680 acres (280 ha)

An American Eagle flight arriving at New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Saturday afternoon was deplaned on the tarmac due to a potential security issue, according to a statement from American Airlines.

Public and transit officials have sought for years to build a rail link to LaGuardia, which opened more than 80 years ago and remains one of the few major U.S. airports without rail service. In a preliminary report last year, the FAA said it reviewed dozens of other proposed alternatives including ferry service, improved bus service and the extension of subway service to the airport.

The monorail was the best alternative because it provides “a time-certain transportation option and supplemental access” to the airport and will reduce vehicle traffic, the FAA wrote in July. The FAA also concluded the project was “reasonable to construct and operate given cost considerations” and wouldn’t affect subway or rail service during construction.

Critics had opposed the plan, saying it would negatively impact the Queens neighborhoods it traverses and wouldn’t be appreciably faster than driving since it would involve taking a train or subway from points east or west to a stop serving CitiField, home of the New York Mets, then switching to the rail link.

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LaGuardia Airport is the New York City airport closest to the nation’s largest business district in Midtown Manhattan. Getting there, however, is inconvenient and slow for people who rely on transit and expensive — and often also slow — for those who receive rides in cabs or shuttles. leaving only LaGuardia without a rail link of its own. This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped in, claiming to have solved the problem. His “Opportunity Agenda” for 2015, which includes a number of worthwhile projects such as Penn Station Access for Metro-North commuter trains, includes an

A rail link to LaGuardia Airport had been proposed since 1943, when the city Board of Transportation proposed an extension of the New York City Subway's BMT Astoria Line (currently served by the N and W trains) from its terminus at Ditmars Boulevard.[14]This would be one of 20 It would stop at Queens Plaza, then use the right-of-way of the Sunnyside Yards and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to access LaGuardia Airport .[18] After stopping at LaGuardia , the line would continue parallel to the Grand Central Parkway an intermediate stop near Shea Stadium in Willets Point, with a connection to the 7

In a lawsuit filed last month, environmental and neighborhood groups asked the FAA to request the Port Authority to pause the project, alleging it was pushed through too fast by Cuomo and the Port Authority and used arbitrary screening criteria to pre-empt meaningful consideration of numerous alternatives to the rail link.

Some of those alternatives include ferry service, the extension of existing subway lines and optimized bus service using dedicated lanes.

Michael Dulong, an attorney for Riverkeeper Inc., one of the groups that filed the lawsuit, said Tuesday the group isn't opposed to the project per se, but wants a more thorough review.

“It's going to take parkland from an environmental justice community,” he said. "We just want to make sure this is the right project for New York City.”

Port Authority officials said last year that the plan wouldn't require the taking of any public property and that the rail link’s initial proposed path was shifted to the north, further away from a neighborhood that sits across the Grand Central Parkway from the airport.

Other critics had said the link's ridership wouldn't be enough to justify the high price tag. A Port Authority study projected ridership at 17,000 people per day in 2026 and slightly over 18,000 by 2031; the FAA has estimated daily ridership at 13,000 people by 2026 and 14,000 by 2031.

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