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Letter: LaGuardia improvements aren't worth it

A rendering of an aerial view of the

A rendering of an aerial view of the future LaGuardia Airport, which would feature a unified terminal. Credit: NY Governor's Office

LaGuardia is a postage stamp-size airport with short runways. After spending $4 billion on renovations, New York will still have a dysfunctional facility ["Flying high at LaGuardia," Editorial, July 28].

Here are two better ideas. Put some of that investment into Long Island MacArthur Airport, either by moving a terminal closer to the Long Island Rail Road or by building a rail connector from the Ronkonkoma station to the present terminal.

Then, reallocate the gates at LaGuardia to MacArthur. Close LaGuardia and re-purpose this real estate into taxable properties by allowing residential or industrial use. I estimate the net cost at $1 billion.

Stewart Airport in Newburgh is a first-class facility that is under-utilized because people think 60 miles is too far away. The real problem is not distance, but time. If we could move passengers from Manhattan to Stewart in less time than it takes to go from Manhattan to LaGuardia, then Stewart would be viable.

If we built a maglev link from Grand Central Terminal to Stewart, the travel time would be 30 minutes. I estimate the cost at less than $3 billion.

Instead of squandering enormous amounts of cash on an airport project that will be marginally better, we could take two excellent airports and make them more accessible for the same or lower cost.

At the same time, the LaGuardia property will enhance city tax collections when repurposed to new uses.

Ernest Fazio, Centerport

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of Long Island Metro Business Action, a business organization.