Public transportation from New York City to LaGuardia Airport may become way more seamless in a few years.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that an elevated train, providing a 30-minute connection from the airport to midtown Manhattan, is very close to starting construction. The project, which would cost $2 billion, is awaiting further approval by federal regulators, specifically when it comes to its environmental impact.
If approved, construction on the project could begin next summer and the train could be in operation by 2025. Although, even if approval for the AirTrain is granted, the project may be delayed by a lack of funding due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
Currently, if a traveler wants to get to LaGuardia via public transit, it would involve a combination of subway and bus transfers. The complicated journey — especially with a suitcase in tow — is the reason why 90 percent of people coming to the airport opt for a private option, such as a cab or shuttle service.
An elevated subway train track and automated people mover, proposed by Port Authority, would connect the airport to the NYC subway system and the Long Island Railroad network. The AirTrain would be 1.5 miles long and connect from the current Willets Point station near CitiField, where the New York Mets play, and the U.S. National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is held.
The FAA said it had considered other alternatives like a ferry service or extension of a pre-existing subway line. But after debating options, the elevated train was the only plan “considered to be reasonable to construct and operate,” according to The Associated Press.
If and when the AirTrain opens, it would likely carry more than 13,000 people per day, the Port Authority said.
A public comment period on the project will be open online until Oct. 5, 2020.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter @cai_rizz, Instagram @cai.rizz and caileyrizzo.com.
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