NEW YORK — The LaGuardia Airport AirTrain project is on pause as the Port Authority reviews potential alternative mass transit options, the agency announced Tuesday evening.
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Oct. 4 had requested the agency examine alternatives.
“The agency will work in close consultation with independent experts and stakeholders, and will complete its work as expeditiously as possible, consistent with the need for the review to be thorough and rigorous,” the Port Authority said in a statement.
Asked about the AirTrain project at her Wednesday briefing, Hochul said she is going to "listen to experts" and "take the time necessary to get it right."
"What I am going to do, and people have learned this about me, I am going to take a broad approach to this, knowing that we are going to offer the people of this city and people who visit to our airports, and LaGuardia, that we offer them world-class mass transit opportunities to get from LaGuardia to the city. I’ll get that done," Hochul said. "But I want to take some breathing room to assess what’s been done in the past, what ideas were rejected, and how we ended up with AirTrain in the first place."
The controversial project, which former Gov. Andrew Cuomo championed, promised a 30-minute ride from LaGuardia to Midtown Manhattan. It would link the airport to the 7 train and Long Island Rail Road at nearby Citi Field by a more than two-mile elevated rail line.
But East Elmhurst residents say it doesn't make sense to have travelers head east past the airport, only to turn around at Citi Field and head back west towards LaGuardia.
State Senator Jessica Ramos, who represents the area and has opposed the project publicly, welcomed the news from the Port Authority in a statement.
“This project was nonsensical from the start and failed to meaningfully address the problems it claimed to solve,” Ramos said. “I’m confident that the Port Authority's review will reveal what we already knew: this was a $2.1 billion dollar vanity project, and that money can be better spent to build 21st-century public transit that Queens can be proud of."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave the AirTrain plan the green light in July.
Last month, homeowners and environmental activists sued the federal government and the Port Authority over the plan.
Did you know you can now watch, read and stay informed with NY1 wherever and whenever you want? Get the new Spectrum News app here.
Reporting from Clodagh McGowan was used in this report.
Looking for an easy way to learn about the issues affecting New York City?