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LaGuardia AirTrain, Cuomo’s Prize, Enters Final Stages of Planning – News

The Federal Aviation Administration this week published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the LaGuardia AirTrain, a controversial project proposed and championed by beleaguered Governor Andre Cuomo.

The political context and controversy surrounding the project is dripping from the description that starts off an article on the EIS by Eve Kessler for Streetsblog NYC:

Even as Andrew Cuomo struggles to retain his governorship over mounting allegations of sexual harassment and bullying, his favorite construction boondoggle — the “Wrong-Way” LaGuardia AirTrain — got a shot in the arm Monday as the troubled project attained a key milestone.

The proposed $2-billion, 1.5-mile automated people mover has found support in the pages of Crain’s and the Daily News, as well as stinging criticism in the pages of the Post and Streetsblog NYC.

The publication of the EIS means that the project has settled on one potential alignment, moving on from the 47 potential alternatives considered in the planning process so far.

“After the FAA issues a ‘Record of Decision’ later this spring, AirTrain construction can move forward, ‘completing the transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a world-class gateway to New York,’ per Port Authority literature. Initial utility work and foundations for the automated people mover guideway and stations will commence in June, the document says optimistically,” reports Kessler.

The article includes a lot more detail about the hurdles the project has overcome to reach this point since its first announcement in early 2015, including a “$3 billion hole” blown in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $20 billion capital plan by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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