After months of squabbling over who’s responsible for funding repairs and expansions of NYC’s transit system, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio reached an agreement on Saturday to keep the MTA’s $26.1 billion, five-year capital plan on track. The state will put in $8.3 billion and the city $2.5 billion (much more than de Blasio’s original $657 million planned contribution). However, Cuomo was clear that their commitment won’t come from increasing taxes and that he’s confident the money can be found in the existing state budget. The city, too, said it would not raise taxes, but rather take $1.9 billion from city funds and the rest from sources that could include development rights or rezoning. The agreement still leaves the MTA $700 million short of its total, but the agency hopes to close the gap by finding “further efficiencies.”
For those of you still flying high over yesterday’s news that LaGuardia Airport would soon be getting a major revamp, here comes some unfortunate news that might bring you back down to earth. As Crain’s reports, Governor Cuomo appears to have grossly underestimated his vision for the upgraded air hub. “According to several sources with direct knowledge of the project,” the paper says, “a new LaGuardia could take more than 10 years to build and cost close to $8 billion”—a price that’s double the Cuomo administration estimates of $4 billion, with at least another five years tacked on to the schedule.
After much anticipation, Governor Cuomo unveiled his plan yesterday to overhaul LaGuardia Airport, which he called “un-New York” in its current state. The $4 billion project includes consolidating the four terminals into one hub and moving the entire facility south the length of two football fields, according to Crain’s. Additionally, Cuomo’s controversial AirTrain, which will connect travelers to the 7 line in Willet’s Point, will be put into effect, as will a 24-hour ferry service that will operate out of the landmarked Art Deco Marine Air Terminal. The development will be handled by LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a new public-private partnership formed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who will oversee the construction, financing, and operation of the new terminal under a 35-year lease.
If you’ve ever endured the long ride to any of the area’s airports, all the while lugging your suitcase and anxiously wondering if you’d miss your flight, then this statistic probably comes as no surprise. According to a study by the Global Gateway Alliance, “John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports rank last and third-to-last, respectively, in mass-transit accessibility compared with 30 of the world’s busiest airports,” reports Crain’s. The analysis looked at total travel time for public transit users, mode of transportation and number of transfers and cost, scoring them from 0 to 100. And if Anthony Weiner is correct, the new LaGuardia AirTrain will only increase travel times–not good news those for us who prefer not to sit in insane taxi traffic or fork over $99 for a private helicopter ride.
Get ready to have your bubble burst. As it turns out, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia would actually increase the time it takes to get to the airport, and for some areas, almost double travel time. The Transport Politic enlightened (and dispirited) hopefuls yesterday in an analysis that highlighted the fact that the new train would would deliver commuters to the 7 subway station at Willets Point, which is further away from Manhattan than the airport. In light of the findings, Anthony Weiner threw in his two cents this morning, penning an op-ed in the Daily News, saying “if we are going to solve this problem, we should do it right.” The former congressman also threw a proposal of his own into the ring.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has reached a tentative deal with developers that could save Pier 40, according to the New York Times. In the new deal, Governor Cuomo would transfer unused development rights to another site on West Side Highway in exchange for $100 million to repair Pier 40. Restoration would involve gradually demolishing St. John’s Terminal Building and replacing it with residential buildings and shops over a period of 10 years.