Key proponents of mass transit in New York City warn Gov. Kathy Hochul to steer clear of planned transit services to LaGuardia Airport that mimic the costly, “custom-built” JFK AirTrain, which requires travelers to transfer from the subway and pay an additional fare.
The proposed “light rail” connections between the airport and the city’s subway system “have all the typical shortcomings of the AirTrain project [Hochul] went off the table late last year,” proponents said in a letter to Hochul on Tuesday.
The groups — Reinvent Albany, StreetsPAC, Riders Alliance and others — said the proposed light rail options were too similar to the controversial $2.1 billion AirTrain route to Citi Field being pushed by the ex-government. Andrew Cuomo Hochul nixed in the fall.
“Because NYCT is non-operational and has never shown an interest in light rail transit, we believe the light rail options outlined by the Port Authority are shorthand for one-off projects operated by the Port Authority or a contractor,” the letter reads.
“These separate systems require additional transit transfers, separate fares such as the outrageous $8 that the Port Authority charges for the JFK AirTrain, and the complete abandonment of economies of scale and shared equipment afforded by directly connecting bus and subway systems with would be realized at the airport. ”
As a result, the groups wrote, the proposals “will likely reduce ridership, make transit investment much less beneficial to Queens neighborhoods, and increase costs.”
Ferries, meanwhile, commissioned by Borough of Queens President Donovan Richards, would not serve enough New Yorkers to discourage them from taking cars to the airport.
Instead, the groups want Hochul to seek an expansion of the city’s subway or bus network that would be integrated into the MTA system and not require an additional fare.
“There’s a very clear dividing line between the options that the Port Authority has proposed,” said Jon Orcutt, a former city transportation officer and consultant for Reinvent Albany. “What would really make transportation to the airport easier is to integrate the airport into the transit itself, into the huge system that we have of subways and buses.”
Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays declined to comment on the details of the lawyers’ letter.
“Governor Hochul directed the Port Authority to thoroughly review alternative mass transit solutions to improve connectivity to LaGuardia Airport, and we look forward to reviewing input on these options to ensure first class transportation to the airport,” said Crampton- Hays in a statement.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/22/advocates-call-on-hochul-to-extend-bus-or-subway-to-laguardia/ Supporters urge Hochul to extend bus or subway to LaGuardia