Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the legislation that was introduced last week that will allow the State Department of Transportation to seize public land to build the LaGuardia AirTrain. There’s still a way to go before the AirTrain is a totally done deal, but this allows an environmental review to be conducted, which will begin later this year and wrap at the end of next year. The announcement is also accompanied by new renderings for the project.
The Governor’s office is hopeful that construction will get underway in early 2020, and wrap in 2022. The AirTrain will provide a connection between the airport and a revamped Mets-Willets Point station in Flushing, Queens, which will allow transfers to the 7 train and the Long Island Rail Road.
The new legislation identifies a corridor between these two areas, within which the AirTrain will be built. It’s within this corridor that the State DOT will be able to acquire city or MTA-owned land in order to build the AirTrain. The Governor’s office said that the corridor had been selected after consultation with residents along the route and local officials. The route itself will be finalized after the environmental review, which will be led by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The state will continue to seek local input as this process moves forward. if the AirTrain is built, it will allow for less than 30-minute trips between LaGuardia Airport and New York Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. The Governor’s office estimates that trips between LaGuardia and Mets-Willets Point will take six minutes, with trains running every four minutes. The next section of the journey, on the LIRR, will take about 16 minutes.
“AirTrain LGA will set an example of comprehensive transit infrastructure for the rest of the nation, and will pay dividends for decades by connecting riders to transit hubs across the Metropolitan area, boosting passenger growth across all airlines, and providing a more efficient means of travel for generations to come,” said Governor Cuomo, in a statement.
Construction on the AirTrain is part of the overall $8 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport. The new Terminal B is scheduled to open its main area in 2020, and the new Delta Terminal C is scheduled to open in 2021.