Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
Cuomo: I'm Taking Over Construction Responsibility for JFK and LaGuardia Airports
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - 04:15 PM
On Tuesday, New York's governor called New York City's main airports "inexcusable." On Wednesday, he announced he would take over their redevelopment.
JFK and LaGuardia airports are now among the benchmarks the governor has set for himself in his annual State of the State address, which he delivered Wednesday in Albany.
"Our airports are the gateways to New York for nearly 50 million people each year," Cuomo said. "Unfortunately, the state of New York has fallen behind. LaGuardia airport is ranked as the worst airport in America, believe it or not. That is a disgrace, my friends, and it is unacceptable, and it's going to change."
LaGuardia and JFK Airports are both in Queens—Cuomo's home borough—and are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Yes, that Port Authority.) While the Port Authority is currently in the process of revamping the airports, the pace is clearly not meeting Cuomo's expectations.
"We need to modernize JFK and LaGuardia," Cuomo said. "We've talked about it for too long. We will assume management responsibility from the Port Authority for construction at JFK and LaGuardia airports. We'll do what we did with the Tappan Zee Bridge."
Building a new Tappan Zee is a cornerstone of Cuomo's first term in office, and he has taken credit for jumpstarting the $4 billion project and convincing the Obama Administration to expedite its federal review process.
Steve Sigmund, the executive director of the Global Gateway Alliance, was thrilled that the airports are now part of the governor's agenda.
“It’s great to have the top of the house focused on this as his number one construction project," Sigmund said. "This is what hasn’t happened for decades.”