A $2.4 billion proposal to build an Air Train from New York City to La Guardia Airport was officially nixed this week.
Environmental groups had long objected to the project and sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – which approved the plan in July 2021 – and the Port Authority, warning the Air Train would eliminate parkland in Queens and impact property values.
The Port Authority’s “expert panel” wrote in its final report, released Monday, that a shuttle bus was the best option for traveling to and from the airport.
The shuttle service would operate between La Guardia Airport and the end of the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard stop on the N/W subway line in Astoria, Queens.
In addition, the Port Authority proposed an expansion of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Q70 bus (free) to LaGuardia, and a dedicated bus lane along the shoulder of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), between Northern and Astoria boulevards.
The shuttle bus would be funded by the Port Authority, rather than the MTA, according to Port Authority spokesperson Tom Topousis.
It’s yet not clear whether the shuttle service would be free.
“In light of this decision, I renew my previous call on our government partners to conduct a more detailed, thorough study on establishing ferry service to La Guardia while also exploring the establishment of a Bus Rapid Transit system between the Jackson Heights transportation hub and the airport, as well as the potential extension of the N/W subway line,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “In the short term, I look forward to discussions with the MTA and the Port Authority on improving the frequency of service along the Q70 bus line and the proposed shuttle service from Astoria to LaGuardia, respectively.”
The existing Air Train that operates between the city and JFK International Airport costs riders $8.25 in each direction – triple a subway fare.