Port Authority brings in MTA, transit experts to reexamine subway extension to LaGuardia Airport

Clayton Guse

Originally published in New York Daily News

A crack team of transit experts will reexamine ways to connect LaGuardia Airport to the rest of the city — including extending the subway to the airport, Port Authority officials announced Tuesday.

The new panel follows Gov. Hochul’s decision last month to put the brakes on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to build an AirTrain to LaGuardia from Willets Point, Queens. The route was widely criticized as inefficient and would have required mass transit riders to pay two fares to get to the airport. Hochul demanded the Port Authority look into alternatives to the AirTrain.

The panel includes former city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Denver Airport chief Phil Washington and Mike Brown, who previously led Transport for London and was the managing director of Heathrow Airport. Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will also be on the panel to contribute “analysis of mass transit options, specifically the subway and bus alternatives,” the Port Authority announced in a press release. 

A proposal to extend the subway’s N/W line to LaGuardia Airport has already gained steam among some Queens elected officials.

The plan would add a spur to the elevated tracks in Astoria just north of the line’s 30th Ave. station. From there, the line would head east above the Grand Central Parkway. Queens state Sens. Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos have both voiced their support for the subway extension. 

The Port Authority’s panel will look into several more options to connect non-motorists to LaGuardia, all of which were studied and shot down in an environmental review process for Cuomo’s AirTrain that community groups claimed was fixed from the start.

The options include adding dedicated bus lanes to serve the airport, a new ferry service and light rail options from Long Island Rail Road stations.

Port Authority officials said the panel’s final report will be “completed as expeditiously as possible.”