NY Gov. Hochul Halts Cuomo’s $2.1B AirTrain Project

NY Gov. Hochul Halts Cuomo's $2.1B AirTrain Project kathy hochul speaks to press New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the Browsville Recreation Center, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, New York, Oct. 4, 2021. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 05 October 2021 11:31 AM

Gov. Kathy Hochul has decided not to continue with disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $2.1 billion AirTrain between LaGuardia Airport and eastern Queens, the New York Post reported.

The New York Democrat told the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to find an alternative to the AirTrain project.

"I have asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine alternative mass transit solutions for reducing car traffic and increasing connectivity to LaGuardia Airport," Hochul said in a statement Monday afternoon, the Post said.

"We must ensure that our transportation projects are bold, visionary, and serve the needs of New Yorkers. I remain committed to working expeditiously to rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century and to create jobs — not just at LaGuardia, but at all of our airports and transit hubs across New York."

The AirTrain was a top priority for Cuomo, who pushed through the project despite opposition from some advocates and even officials at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority.

"I don’t feel obligated to accept what I have inherited," Hochul said at a Monday press conference in Brooklyn. "There were alternatives on the table that even the FAA said that people were saying people were not looking at as close as they should."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was among critics who questioned the logic requiring Manhattan-bound riders to first travel east before connecting to a subway in Queens and then heading back west.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and two of the borough’s most powerful state senators, Leroy Comrie and Mike Gianaris, criticized the project in the past week.

A government watchdog and a former city Department of Transportation official last month issued a report that found the AirTrain would attract just 6,000 new daily transit riders and cost $350,000 per rider — the most expensive project per-rider in history.

The Post said Democrat state Sen. Jessica Ramos, whose district involves part of the proposed project, called Hochul’s decision to seek alternatives "great movement in the right direction."

"A review of the LGA #AirTrain project isn’t enough, we need a full halt. The $2B can better serve our community by updating our infrastructure and by creating a transportation system that actually serves our neighbors increasing their access to public transit," Ramos tweeted.

Longtime Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry blasted colleagues for turning against the project.

"To do nothing by blocking LaGuardia AirTrain, D, as some of my colleagues in elected office now want, means that we will have no opportunity for success and more and more cars on the roads and in and out of our community for generations to come," Aubry said in a statement.