More plans have been unveiled for a public transit connection between Manhattan and LaGuardia Airport, months after a $2 billion project to build an elevated rail link through Queens was put on hold.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released more than a dozen options Wednesday that include light rail, express buses, ferries and the extension of subway lines. The public will have a chance to view the plans and post comments at two workshops this month in Queens.
The Federal Aviation Administration had approved the elevated rail project, championed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and preliminary construction was scheduled to begin last year. But Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul paused the plan in October after criticism from public officials and a lawsuit from local and environmental groups.
Critics claimed the 1.5-mile rail link, stretching from a subway and Long Island Rail Road stop that serves the New York Mets' Citi Field, would negatively impact the neighborhoods it traversed and wouldn’t be appreciably faster than driving from Manhattan, when factoring in switching trains. The lawsuit claimed the FAA didn't adequately evaluate other options.
Those options now include the previous elevated rail line and also:
- Extending the N/W subway line from one of two locations in Queens, to run partly elevated and partly below grade;
- Light rail connecting the N/W and other subway lines to the airport;
- Dedicated bus lanes connecting existing subway lines to the airport;
- Ferry service making stops in lower Manhattan, midtown and the Upper East Side, augmented by shuttle buses.
LaGuardia opened more than 80 years ago and is considered the only major U.S. airport without direct rail service.