New York's newly rebuilt LaGuardia Airport has been cleared to build its own AirTrain to improve access for travelers, but critics are calling it the ultimate lost opportunity: Instead of a one-seat ride to the city center, it heads east to a subway station where a long ride west to downtown begins.
Work on the $2.1 billion project (originally estimated at $450 million, could start as early as late summer after approval this week by the Federal Aviation Administration. The plan calls for an elevated line with two stations at the airport, and the other a mile-and-a-half in the wrong direction, where passengers would change to either the subway or Long Island Rail Road trains.
New York's Gov. Cuomo has insisted on this route, and as critics point out, the committee advising him did not consider other alternatives, including a long-proposed extension of a nearby subway line into the airport, which would have provided a one-seat ride to most of the city for $2.75. The AirTrain plan will add a $7.75 charge for the shuttle to the subway.