Transit advocates are putting on a full court press to persuade Governor Kathy Hochul to scrap Andrew Cuomo’s $2.1 billion pet project, the controversial “wrong way” AirTrain between LaGuardia airport and eastern Queens.
The AirTrain would link LaGuardia Airport to the Long Island Rail Road and the 7 subway train in Willets Point, near Citi Field and the US Open’s Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
However, some have questioned the route’s logic, which requires Manhattan-bound passengers to first travel east, away from the island, before connecting to the subway and returning west.
“The LaGuardia monorail is a big Cuomo- ego boondoggle,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany.
“This is a zombie project that should be put to bed.”
Another transit advocate claimed that simply increasing bus service between Manhattan and LaGuardia would allow people to get around more quickly.
“A new governor in office is an opportunity for a total reset, and rethinking our priorities. There are other projects that the governor can choose from to ensure that we have a viable recovery across sectors.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also opposed to the project, which would run through Elmhurst and part of her district.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the project in July, despite the fact that documents revealed that FAA officials believed the route would be slower than driving in 2019.
Cuomo’s hand-picked executive director Rick Cotton continues to lead the Port Authority, and the PA’s Board of Commissioners is still stacked with Cuomo appointees.
“Cotton will push this project until his last breath,” one source familiar with the deliberations said.
Hochul, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on the LaGuardia monorail.
“Governor Hochul is committed to a world-class airport and transportation network, and she is working with the Port Authority, community members, elected officials, and advocates to ensure transparency and robust engagement,” said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.
According to sources, Cotton has spoken with Hochul about a number of PA projects in the works, including the construction of a new Port Authority bus terminal, improvements to JFK Airport, and the monorail project.
The Port Authority defended the LGA AirTrain, claiming that opposition was misguided and that it would benefit passengers and the environment.
“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 at this time of climate change crisis is simply indefensible,” the PA said in a statement.