You are reading

LaGuardia AirTrain Set to be World’s Most Expensive Transit Project: Report

The proposed LaGuardia AirTrain. (Courtesy of Port Authority

Sept. 10, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The LaGuardia AirTrain project is likely to be the world’s most expensive transit project per rider in history, according to a new report.

The $2.1 billion project — a 1.5 mile rail line linking LaGuardia Airport to the 7 train and Long Island Rail Road at Willets Point — could cost the most per new rider of any public transit development in history, according to an analysis by the government watchdog group Reinvent Albany.

The report undermines the economics of the proposed AirTrain LGA — which some say was a pet project of disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo. It follows pushback from community members and elected officials who say its route is illogical — making riders from Manhattan travel past the airport to Willets Point to then backtrack to the airport.

The AirTrain project would serve only 6,000 new riders each day, according to Reinvent Albany’s estimates outlined in the report. With the project set to cost $2.1 billion that equates to a whopping $346,000 per new daily rider.

That figure is nearly twice as much as the Second Avenue subway project, according to the report, which was the most costly transit project ever built at $180,500 per new daily rider.

The AirTrain will run along the route shown in map (Port Authority)

The report states that the Port Authority, the agency spearheading the project, has overestimated the expected ridership of the AirTrain.

The Port Authority estimates that the AirTrain will serve 13,117 daily riders — a combination of air passengers and airport employees.

However, the report authors argue that more than 3,500 of those daily riders will drive to the AirTrain station at Willets Point and park—or be dropped off—as part of the commute.

The authors note that since these riders will still be using cars the AirTrain won’t achieve its goal of getting vehicles off the road.

“A large part of what the LGA Airtrain does is provide an extremely expensive shuttle service for airport employees parking their cars…and taxi drop-offs [at Willets Point],” the report reads. “Accordingly, we think the Port Authority’s claim that the AirTrain is climate friendly is completely bizarre.”

The report also notes that many of the estimated 13,117 daily riders already take public transportation to the airport. The report puts this figure at approximately 3,600.

Reinvent Albany and other critics of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain hope that Gov. Kathy Hochul will scrap her predecessor’s plan. Hochul has not made any public statements about the plan since taking office.

The Port Authority didn’t respond to a request for comment, but told the New York Post that the report’s numbers were “breathtakingly wrong.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Porn actor Ron Jeremy, who grew up in Bayside, found unable to stand trial for rape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday, Jan. 17, declared that porn performer Ron Jeremy is mentally incompetent to stand trial on dozens of rape and sexual assault counts.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Harris said in a hearing that after reviewing reports from both prosecutors and Jeremy’s defense that he is in “incurable neurocognitive decline” from which he is unlikely to recover.