New coalition wants AirTrain LGA to become a reality
LaGuardia is the only major East Coast airport without a rail connection. AirTrain LGA would change that — and the daunting trip to and from.
LaGuardia Airport is the only major East Coast airport without a direct rail connection, so getting there can often feel as long as that security line or trip to get to your final destination. However, a newly formed coalition aims to change that by throwing its support behind Gov. Cuomo’s proposed AirTrain LGA.
Called A Better Way to LGA, the coalition is co-chaired by Queens Chamber of Commerce, Association for a Better New York and New York Building Congress and includes community members, transportation advocates, local business leaders and more.
“LaGuardia is currently undergoing an $8 billion transformation to reimagine the airport for the 21st century, and it’s essential that the development of AirTrain LGA be a part of that vision,” said Carlo A. Scissura of the New York Building Congress. “As New York’s population and tourism industry continue to grow, ensuring people can efficiently travel to and from our region’s airports is one of our most crucial priorities.”
Travel times to and from LaGuardia Airport are expected to increase by up to 50 percent by 2045, causing more congestion and environmental impact. The next step to make the AirTrain LGA a reality is an environmental review, which the coalition urges be completed by Q4 2019.
Such rail service has “proven effective” locally, the coalition said, as AirTrain Newark saw more than 21 million paid passengers and AirTrain JFK more than 58 million between 2007 and 2016.
A plan of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, AirTrain LGA would connect to public transit at Willets Point to relieve congestion at LaGuardia Airport, where more than 29 million travelers flew into and out of last year.
As part of the plan, Willets Point Station would be modernized and redesigned for travelers with luggage and made ADA-accessible to ensure a smooth transition to AirTrain LGA. Travelers from Manhattan would reach the station in 16 minutes on the LIRR thanks to direct, non-stop service from Penn Station and eventually Grand Central Terminal upon completion of East Side Access.
From Willets Point, it would take six minutes to get to LaGuardia Airport. As an alternative, straphangers can take the 7 train to Willets Point and transfer to AirTrain LGA.