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Finally! LaGuardia Airport is getting a direct rail link to the subway

Will Gleason
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Will Gleason

In its 75 years of existence, LaGuardia Airport has found many ways to annoy traveling New Yorkers. One of the most grating aspects of the regional hub, however, is that there’s never been a direct rail link to the airport. Not only does that complicate the (already quite stressful) commute to catch a flight, but it also hinders New Yorkers general feeling of superiority over other cities. We may have better pizza than Chicago and San Francisco, but damn it if they don’t have a one-seat ride to their airports.

Governor Cuomo is looking to fix that egregious infrastructure oversight. At a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York this morning, Cuomo announced his administration is in the initial planning phases to construct an AirTrain (similar to the one at JFK), which will connect the terminals at LaGuardia to the Willets Point 7 train and LIRR stops. (That's the one by Citi Field.)

“You can’t get to LaGuardia by train today,” Cuomo announced at the event, according to the New York Observer. “And that really is inexcusable. That is something we’re going to correct over the next several years.”

The proposed train will run 1.5 miles along Grand Central Parkway, mainly through Willets Point. This is a crucial difference from past, unsuccessful attempts to build a rail connection to LaGuardia, which were defeated by opposition from neighborhood representatives in Astoria and Jackson Heights. The Governor also discussed a possible high-speed ferry connecting LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan.

Even though the project doesn’t have a firm budget or timetable, Cuomo did mention that part of the budget could come from the $5 billion that New York State took in last year through settlements with foreign banks. The AirTrain to JFK opened in 2003 at a cost of $1.9 billion.

With the MTA currently operating at $15 billion budget gap, however, it remains to be seen if those funds will be enough to get the airport upgrade *ahem* off the ground.

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