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Cuomo: I'm Taking Over Construction Responsibility for JFK and LaGuardia Airports

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - 04:15 PM

LaGuardia Airport (New York Governor Cuomo)

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.”

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Comments [7]

Michael Zullo needs to get his facts straight before he opens his mouth, the PA does not operate the NYC Bus and Subway System. Secondly the Governor of NY and NJ are responsible for the PA, seems to me that if Mr. Cuomo has an issue with the construction schedule at the NYC Airports he has no one to blame but himself. We all see what a great job Albany is doing so lets bring them in and update our Airports.

Jan. 13 2014 12:15 AM
JOSEPH P. WALL from PELHAM BAY, BRONX

There are rumors out there some hotter than others, that have both Stuart and even McAuther Airports expanded for airport usage. Even Senator Chuck Schumer at one point expressed an interest in seeing McAuther Airport expanded. Should this actually happen, there should be new transportation routes built via light rail, busway, or even new train or subway routes to these airports from mid town Manhattan or even other parts of New York City if there is a demand for it.

Jan. 10 2014 01:02 PM
Matthew Arnold from NYC

Uh, yeah, spiffy new airports would be nice and all, but look, the real problem is transportation to and from the airport. Laguardia is an embarrassment less because it's the Madison Square Garden of airports than because you CAN'T EVEN TAKE THE DAMN SUBWAY THERE, like civilized people in every other great city in the world do. Which is something that I trust our highway-happy motorhead governor to completely neglect, just like he couldn't be bothered to put mass transit on his Tappan Zee Bridge. Maybe he should stick to building casinos that Queens doesn't want or need and leave the airports to rot until someone with a clue about the choo-choo takes over Albany?

Jan. 09 2014 04:30 PM
Arnold from garden City, ny

The best improvement the Governor could make would be to spend the money to refurbish Stewart Airport, and build a high speed link to the city. This would relieve NYC and Nassau residents of the safety and noise hazards of both airports and provide adequate space for future expansion.
There is not much that can be done to improve LGA which is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. JFK is built on a former swamp and will eventually be submerged.

Jan. 09 2014 01:37 PM
Arnold from garden City, ny

The best improvement the Governor could make would be to spend the money to refurbish Stewart Airport, and build a high speed link to the city. This would relieve NYC and Nassau residents of the safety and noise hazards of both airports and provide adequate space for future expansion.
There is not much that can be done to improve LGA which is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. JFK is built on a former swamp and will eventually be submerged.

Jan. 09 2014 01:37 PM
Michael Zullo from Upper Eastside Manhattan

This news about Governor Cuomo taking over control of JFK and LGA airports from the Port Authority made my day. It may be freezing outside in Manhattan this morning but I'm a happy camper, warm & cozy. Great article. Now all we need is for Governor Cuomo to take away NYC's bus and subway systems from the Port Authority and let the Mayor of NYC take over management. The poor management and unaccountability from this antiquated Port Authority Agency needs to end in 2014. Michael Z.

Jan. 09 2014 10:47 AM
Jon Garfunkel from New York, NY

The Governor has spoken big, but the devil is in the details, and I expect steadfast reporters such as yourself to dig here. What are specific problems with Port Authority construction projects that would be different with NYS ownership?

What of the existing open contracts for work on LGA & JFK? Can this even be done unilaterally? When he says, "We'll do what we did with the Tappan Zee Bridge" -- what does he mean, given that TZB was already under the NYS Thruway Authority? The TZB's development was accelerated by petitioning the federal government to fast-track (i.e., cut the environmental review) -- would this option even apply for airport construction?

Jan. 09 2014 06:07 AM

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