The LaGuardia Airport AirTrain Proposal
The LGA AirTrain Project
Over the last 5 years, amid fierce criticism from transit experts and community members, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has proposed a LaGuardia Airport (LGA) AirTrain that would run from LGA to Willets Point. In June, 2018 Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry of East Elmhurst and Northern Corona introduced legislation that would use eminent domain to alienate parkland in order to construct a LGA AirTrain. The bill passed the state legislature on the last day of session and allowed for an AirTrain to be built on top of the Flushing Bay Promenade, across on Flushing Bay, or on the Grand Central Parkway.
Port Authority's Preferred Route
In October, 2018 the PANYNJ released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to spearhead the environmental review process for the LaGuardia Airport Access Improvement Project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process (learn more about NEPA here). The RFP outlines PANYNJ's preferred alternative: an AirTrain that would run from LGA to Willets Point, span over a portion of the Flushing Bay promenade, and connect to the Willets Point 7 Train and Long Island Rail Road station. The RFP includes traffic and ridership studies funded by PANYNJ. In the RFP, PANYNJ asks for the consultant to plan for a one year review process in order to complete construction by 2022. For context, the environmental review process for the JFK AirTrain took over three years to complete.
The Environmental Review Process
Ricando is the firm selected by PANYNJ to perform NEPA analysis under the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Ricando organized two identical community leaders meetings on April 15th and 16th. Click here to see their letter of invitation. The review started on May 3 and is now projected to take 2 years. The first public engagement period ended on June 17th, with a 45 day public comment period and two public meetings. The next public engagement opportunity will be public meetings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, likely held in winter 2020.
The Sensible Way to LGA Coalition
Sensible Way to LGA is a growing coalition of residents, local organizations, and citywide partners who are advocating for a robust and thorough environmental review that considers all alternatives for public transit to LGA evenly, including increased bus and ferry service, subway extensions, and other rail routes. Members include the Ditmars Blvd Block Association, Riverkeeper, Queens Neighborhoods United. Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Heights Beautification Group, and Guardians of Flushing Bay.
Click here to see submitted comments on the LGA AirTrain project from local organizations, residents, and citywide partners.
Click here for updates on public engagement opportunities during the LGA AirTrain environmental review process
See Comptroller Scott Stringer's June 17, 2019 letter to PANYNJ about his concerns of the project
See PANYNJ's July 30th, 2019 response to Comptroller Stringer
In the news
New York Post: LaGuardia AirTrain project now estimated to cost $2B. June 25, 2019
amNewYork: MTA isn't ready for LaGuardia AirTrain ridership, comptroller says. June 19, 2019
Queens Ledger: Residents host their own LGA AirTrain forum. June 18, 2019
Queens Chronicle, LGA AirTrain plans shift to Promenade. April 4, 2019