BY JON CRONIN
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Monday that will partially determine the corridor of the new AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport.
The new legislation includes multiple potential alignments being considered in the upcoming environmental review of the proposed AirTrain LGA project that is planned between the airport, Long Island Rail Road Station and 7 subway train at Mets-Willets Point in Flushing.
The Federal Aviation Administration will next select a consultant to prepare the environmental impact statement. The environmental review is slated to begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2019.
The AirTrain’s corridor will be determined as part of that extensive environmental review process with required public participation. The proposed corridor was created in consultation with local community members and elected officials. The route will not be finalized before the environmental review.
The bill stipulates that the state’s Department of Transportation can acquire land already owned by the city or MTA and within the established corridor. No private property would be involved in the project.
Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and conclude in 2022.
Cuomo praised Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) for their efforts in passing legislation to consider alternative routes that would lessen the potential impacts of the AirTrain, while supporting LaGuardia Airport’s ongoing modernization.
“For the AirTrain LGA project, it’s not a matter of whether, but a matter of where, which will be largely determined by the local community as part of the environmental review process,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.
The project aims to create less congestion on the roadways and boasts trips of under 30 minutes between the airport and Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. Heading east, the AirTrain will provide rail access from Long Island via the LIRR and the 7 train.