July 27, 2015
LaGuardia Airport’s four terminals will be consolidated into one hub and the entire facility will be moved south almost the length of two football fields, under a $4 billion plan proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday.
In addition, the airport will be connected to public transit via an AirTrain link and 24-hour ferry service. Delta Air Lines, which owns Terminals C and D, will be a “full partner” in the project, the governor said. (The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns Terminals A and B, but leases B to Delta.)
The project, which will need to be approved by the Port Authority, will break ground in 2016, is expected to open to passengers in 2019 and will be fully completed 18 months after, Mr. Cuomo said at a luncheon hosted by the Association for a Better New York.
“New York will have the newest major airport in the United States,” Mr. Cuomo said, alongside Vice President Joe Biden, who famously said that LaGuardia Airport was akin to a “Third World country” in describing the facility’s many shortcomings.
Amid his rambling, folksy comments, Mr. Biden had high praise for Mr. Cuomo: “You’ve got a governor who thinks big,” the vice president said.
LaGuardia’s path to redesign has been long and winding. Last fall, the governor announced a design competition to solicit ideas for how to improve both LaGuardia and JFK, as well as upstate’s Stewart International Airport and Long Island’s Republic Airport.
In January, Mr. Cuomo proposed to build a mile-and-a-half AirTrain link along the Grand Central Parkway from the No. 7 subway station at Willets Point to the airport. The project would cost approximately $450 million—about $300 million per mile—and take about five years. It would be run by the Port Authority in conjunction with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The governor also announced a seven-member advisory panel composed of business, real estate and planning experts to help choose the final designs. Daniel Tishman, vice chairman of Tishman Realty Corp. and Tishman Hotel Corp., will chair the panel, which will include former Bloomberg administration planning czar Amanda Burden, real estate developer John Zuccotti and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
During the process, developers bidding on the project to rebuild LaGuardia’s Central Terminal were asked twice to extend their submissions to make way for Mr. Cuomo’s design competition.
Experts praised Mr. Cuomo’s new proposal, while urging the state to safeguard against recurring infrastructure woes like cost overruns and seemingly never-ending construction.
“In order to transform these visions into reality, we must stick to clear budgets and timelines for completing the projects,” said Joseph Sitt, a real estate developer and chairman of the Global Gateway Alliance, an advocacy group. “For too long, our airports have been caught in big modernization plans and small actions. Today’s announcement should signal the beginning of a new era of fast and efficient overhauls to the region’s vital gateways.”