New York LaGuardia airport: AirTrain in danger of cancellation
There is never a dull day in politics, nor in the air transport business. In New York the two just came together into what could be a disaster movie.
No sooner had the FAA belatedly given the thumbs-up to the scheme to build a more-expensive-by-the-day ‘AirTrain’ people mover between public transport stations and La Guardia Airport than its biggest mover and shaker, the state Governor, Andrew Cuomo, stated he would resign over numerous political and personal scandals.
The scheme could still go ahead, but it seems many of the Port Authority’s staff are against it, along with local and national politicians and environmental protest groups. Emphasis may switch to a rail tunnel under the Hudson River, which has federal government backing.
Public-private partnerships to build direct and indirect airport-related infrastructure in the US have been on the rise, but the opposition to this scheme may bring them into question generally, as well as prompting another question – under what circumstances could an entirely private sector piece of infrastructure be built at, or connecting to, an airport in the present political climate?
- FAA approves LaGuardia (LGA) people carrier, but its biggest supporter is forced to resign.
- The LGA 'AirTrain' would be the third at New York’s major airports and would complete its renaissance.
- But there is political and environmental opposition to it.
- The price of the Air Train has increased fivefold since it was first proposed.
- Many of the Port Authority’s staff are against it and are now saying so.
- New York’s airports are not connected by an integrated public transport network.
- With the Governor gone, emphasis will fall again on the pressing need for a fresh New York-New Jersey rail tunnel.
- Alternative funding for the LaGuardia AirTrain would be difficult to access while the private sector stays on the outside looking in.
- The concept may be derailed forever; more likely postponed for several years.