An illustration of the reconstructed LaGuardia Airport shows an elevated...

An illustration of the reconstructed LaGuardia Airport shows an elevated rail platform for the AirTrain. Credit: Officer of the Governor

You can get to LaGuardia Airport by sitting in Grand Central Parkway traffic and then paying a fortune for the ride or to park your car. In a few years, the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain might make the region’s second train-to-the-plane a traveler’s best option.

It’s already moving. State legislation signed last week by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo eliminated major obstacles for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as it develops potential routes for a new AirTrain, which would carry riders from the Willets Point subway and Long Island Rail Road stop near Citi Field to the airport. By avoiding private homes and residential neighborhoods in its path, the new service has a realistic chance of overcoming most community objections.

Next up: environmental review, public hearings, financing and construction. The project, expected to be finished by 2022, will take coordination with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City and developers who hope to revitalize Willets Point. The Port Authority has earmarked $1.5 billion, and has to keep the project on time and on budget.

Some critics suggest it would be better to extend the Astoria subway line. Sure it would, if it weren’t for the incredible expense, extensive community opposition and endless approvals involved.

The LaGuardia AirTrain hopes to model the success of the popular service to Kennedy Airport, which boasted 7.6 million paid rides last year. If all goes well, by 2023, LaGuardia travelers will have a far faster and easier ride of their own.

From there, the sky is the limit.

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