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Port Authority hits 'pause' button on LaGuardia Airport's AirTrain project

A rendering of the proposed AirTrain system at

A rendering of the proposed AirTrain system at LaGuardia Airport.  Credit: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority is putting on "pause" LaGuardia’s controversial AirTrain project, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

Pushed by former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the project was expected to carry 6 million to 10 million air travelers from LaGuardia Airport to Willets Point in Queens, where they could connect to a 7 train or hop on the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line.

The Port Authority said it is suspending the $2 billion project after Gov. Kathy Hochul asked the agency to examine alternative mass transit solutions for reducing car traffic and increasing connectivity to LaGuardia.

"At Governor Hochul’s request, the Port Authority is undertaking a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport," the Port Authority said in the statement. "The agency will work in close consultation with independent experts and stakeholders, and will complete its work as expeditiously as possible, consistent with the need for the review to be thorough and rigorous. During the review, the Port Authority will pause further action with respect to the LaGuardia AirTrain project."

Three groups filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration, asking it to halt the project, claiming it would take waterfront parkland along a 2,100-foot stretch of Malcolm X Promenade at Flushing Bay.

Opponents of the project believe the rail’s route inconveniences Manhattan-bound riders, who would be forced to head farther east than the airport. Long Islanders needing to connect to other LIRR lines would have to travel west to the Woodside station.

The FAA greenlighted the plan in July after approving the Port Authority’s environmental review, which included three public hearings during which 80% of the more than 120 people who participated expressed support for the project, according to A Better Way to LGA, a coalition of business, planning and labor groups supporting the project.

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