Rail link to LaGuardia Airport put on hold after criticism
NEW YORK (AP) — A $2 billion project to build a rail link connecting New York City to LaGuardia Airport was officially put on hold Tuesday, after weeks of criticism from public officials and a lawsuit from neighborhood and environmental groups.
In a news release, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it is pausing the project to consider alternatives.
In recent weeks, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had criticized the project, which was championed by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo. Democratic Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who represents part of the area the link would pass through, also has spoken out against it, as has outgoing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued environmental approval in July but recently had asked the Port Authority to reconsider in light of a lawsuit filed by neighborhood and environmental groups.
“At Governor Hochul’s request, the Port Authority is undertaking a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport,” the news release said.
Preliminary construction on the roughly $2 billion, 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) elevated link was to begin this year.
Public and transit officials have sought for years to build a rail link to LaGuardia, which opened more than 80 years ago and remains one of the few major U.S. airports without rail service. In a preliminary report last year, the FAA said it reviewed dozens of other proposed alternatives including ferry service, improved bus service and the extension of subway service to the airport.
The monorail was the best alternative because it provides “a time-certain transportation option and supplemental access” to the airport and will reduce vehicle traffic, the FAA wrote in July. The FAA also concluded the project was...