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Cuomo Announces AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport from Subway, LIRR - East Elmhurst - New York - DNAinfo

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Jackson Heights & Elmhurst

Business & Economy

Transportation

Cuomo Announces AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport from Subway, LIRR

By Katie Honan |&nbspJanuary 20, 2015 11:00am@katie_honan Twitter Facebook Email More
The train will run along the Grand Central Parkway from Willets Point, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. View Full Caption Flickr/Josepha

EAST ELMHURST — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans Tuesday to build a second AirTrain in Queens, connecting riders to LaGuardia Airport from the 7 train and Long Island Rail Road.

The plan calls for a 1.5-mile tram that runs along the Grand Central Parkway from the Willets Point 7 train and LIRR stations, Cuomo said.

The estimated cost for the new AirTrain — which will be built by the Port Authority and the MTA — is $450 million, Cuomo's office said.

LaGuardia AirTrain Proposal

"We just are in the initial planning phases of it," he said.

But the governor said he didn't think the project would face major problems because Willets Point is industrial and therefore not prone to "siting issues" that arise in residential neighborhoods, he said.

A rendering of the AirTrain, which will travel along the Grand Central Parkway to LaGuardia Airport.  View Full Caption Governor's Office

"It runs basically along the Grand Central Parkway. It's basically an industrial area. You're not talking about neighborhoods, etc," he said.

"We need a couple of months to work up the design and then have some real estimates as to how long it will take."

Currently, those going to the airport can take a number of buses, including the M60 select bus service from Harlem and the Q70 from Jackson Heights.

Cuomo made the AirTrain announcement at a breakfast sponsored by A Better New York, where he previewed his 2015 infrastructure and transportation agenda.

He also announced a seven-member panel, which includes Borough President Melinda Katz and former Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, to go over proposed plans.

The new AirTrain is part of the governor's plans to fix up the city's airports, which includes a design competition for LaGuardia and JFK that Cuomo announced in October. 

Cuomo said he took to heart comments made by Vice President Joe Biden that said LaGuardia looked like a "third world country."

"And he was right, by the way. Or at least he was right enough," Cuomo said in October.

The top three designs will receive $500,000 to expand on their plans before a final winner is chosen, Cuomo said.

The design competition is meant to modernize both airports, which for LaGuardia meant a link with the LIRR, ferry service to Manhattan and adding more places to shop and eat. It also must keep a view of the city's iconic skyline, according to the governor's office. 

Connecting the airport to Willets Point also may be a boost to the area ahead of a major overhaul there, which is currently in the beginning stages.

The transformation includes rehabbing the polluted ground of the former Iron Triangle, land that will eventually be home to thousands of units of housing, hotels, a school and a large mall.

The AirTrain to JFK Airport is 8.1-miles long and connects riders from the LIRR and E and J trains at Jamaica, and the A train at Howard Beach.

It connects to each of the airport's terminals as well as a parking lot for car rental companies and shuttles to nearby airports, and costs $5 when entering or leaving at Jamaica or Howard Beach.

Construction on the tram began in 1998 and it was completed by the end of 2003.

The MTA referred questions to the governor's office. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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