LaGuardia AirTrain project put on hold

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T0726LGAAIRTRAIN_C [Credit: Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo]
The LaGuardia AirTrain was strongly backed by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo Credit: Office of the governor of New York

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has put the planned LaGuardia AirTrain project on hold in order to review alternative transit options to the Queens airport. 

The move, the agency said, has been made at the request of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The $2.05 billion project would take travelers from the Willets Point subway stop for the No. 7 train in Queens to LaGuardia, a journey of approximately six minutes. The project was strongly backed by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned under pressure in August because of sexual harassment allegations. The Port Authority approved the project in July, with plans to select a contractor next year. 

The AirTrain, however, faced opposition from environmental groups and some key lawmakers, including state Sen. Leroy Comrie, who chairs the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commission, which has oversight over the Port Authority. 

Last month, the environmental groups Riverkeeper and Guardians of the Flushing Bay joined a group of Queens residents in suing the agency to halt the project. 

Opponents favor alternative transit improvements for LaGuardia commuters, such as extending an existing subway line, restarting LaGuardia ferry service or optimizing bus transit. 

Critics say the AirTrain plan is inefficient because it would require commuters from Manhattan to travel east of the airport to Willets Point, then head back west on the new train line. 

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