Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
Cuomo: New York's Airports are "Inexcusable"
Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - 03:09 PM
New York's governor used a press conference with the vice president to trash the city's airports.
"I don't want to give away news from tomorrow," the governor told Joseph Biden, as well as a room full of reporters, "but you're exactly right about the airports, even here in New York."
(Presumably, 'tomorrow' refers to the governor's forthcoming State of the State address.)
Cuomo continued: "LaGuardia, JFK are inexcusable, frankly, that they have not been redeveloped to keep pace with the best international airports. And that's something that we're going to attend to."
Cuomo was responding to a comment made by Biden, who was in Albany Tuesday for a presentation about New York's Sandy rebuilding efforts.
Biden, for his part, was recounting a conversation he once had with Secretary of State John Kerry.
"If I blindfolded you," Biden said, "and took you into an airport in China or Hong Kong, and you looked around, and I asked you where you were—assuming it was totally empty—most of you would say 'oh, this is really...this must be America."
He went on to say "the most modern airports in the world are in other parts of the world."
Cuomo did not describe what his plans for LaGuardia and JFK Airports are. A press release laying out the state's Sandy rebuilding efforts read: "To make New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports more resilient, the Port Authority will use $257 million to install tide gates and drainage, new emergency generation capabilities and elevated fuel facilities, a new signage communications system, and build a flood wall at LaGuardia airport."
The Global Gateway Alliance, a nonprofit group of business leaders who want to upgrade the region's airports, sent out an email heralding the governor's comments. "New York area airports are vital to our region and the nation, but they simply aren’t up to 21st Century standards."
The city's airports are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is overseen by the governors of both states. The authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A video of the press conference is here. Cuomo's words about the airports come at 52:40.