NEW YORK | LaGuardia Airport Access / AirTrain

In a world of infinite money I would argue continuing the subway either as an extension of the Rockaway beach line north or the old worlds fair route to LGA would be greatly beneficial.

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The limited number of people on Long Island I know strongly prefer using JFK over LGA where practical.

I am extremely happy that the air train was paused/cancelled. I knew it was a terrible idea with a potential subway extension serving many times the number of passengers with greater convenience at only twice the cost.

What are the chances of extending the subway?

It’s certainly getting a serious look now, which is great.

But it may come down to cost, which works against the subway option since it is likely to cost more. It may deliver much more value, but all of the options will be priced at 4x what they should be (what the same project would cost in any sane country.) Which means the subway option may be priced at a number that’s simply too high.

Until NY takes a comprehensive, serious look at its wildly out-of-line capital construction costs, we’ll never get the kind of infrastructure investment we need to keep pace with other cities globally.

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How could cost be the issue? Look at all the turmoil over gas prices and the over reliance on cars. People should be investing in mass transit!!!

Absolutely.

But in a way, that’s the problem here. When government decides something must be built at any cost, consultants and contractors start salivating. They find ways to inflate the costs, to the point where we pay 4-10x what other cities do for the same kinds of projects. And since money is not actually unlimited, that means we can afford only a fraction of the projects we actually need. NY needs to get its costs under control.

Until that happens, we will continue to pay first-class prices for third-class projects. In this case, Paris could probably build a subway extension equivalent to Astoria + LGA + Willets for under one billion. But we’ll end up paying four billion for a line half that length. Or perhaps four billion will simply be too much, so we’ll get another half-assed AirTrain for two and a half billion instead.

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These ideas get dumber and dumber. The PA tried a joint LGA-JFK Airtrain with direct Manhattan access around 20-25 years ago. It was NIMBYied to death and would have cost megabillions.

Every transit official already knows what to do with LGA. Hopefully Hochul ends this charade soon, and moves forward with the approved, 100% funded plan.

Maybe I’m overly negative but as bad as the AirTrain idea was, it was the only thing even close to actually happening. Sometimes mediocre transit is better than none, or waiting decades for the “good” solution.

We will not see a solution for this anytime soon. There’s no appetite for how much the subway extension would cost. Instead we’ll probably get some half-measure like a BRT which is essentially nothing (BRTs are almost never implemented how they should be in the US).

All that said honestly a ferry wouldn’t be a bad idea if its convenient enough. Issue may be capacity and connectivity.

Anyway this will be juggled for another 15 years until either they pay for the subway extension or just revive the AirTrain plan.

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At a glance, that’s a comprehensive, levelheaded approach. I would think the vast majority of stakeholders would be satisfied with something like that.

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The AmeriStar plan is ambitious to be sure, and not entirely impractical given the proper political and institutional will. However it seems more likely that a Jackson Heights Airtrain would be the preferred plan (should a new plan be announced by the present gov). It has the benefit of terminating next to; the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue Stop on both the Flushing-Main line and the Queens Boulevard line, the Gov’s “signature” infrastructure project, and would probably have some national political support from the district’s somewhat well known congresswoman (she has indicated a tacit approval of a similar plan back when the political “pushback” to the first plan became apparent). Also not far from the LIRR’s Woodside station, a bit far for a connection definitely but if the LIRR decides it has an imagination it could solve this gap with some sort of ticket scheme or by building an insane elon musk-esque pedestrian tunnel. Of course the best option is still the Astoria line extension up 31st St and across 19th Ave, always has been, but it is the most politically challenging option by far.

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I agree, Jackson Heights makes a ton of sense. I just hope to high heaven that this project and the interborough express are being closely coordinated. If the hurdle of AirTrain funds vs. MTA funds could be overcome, I think the optimal outcome would be to combine the two projects into a continuous line from Bay Ridge to LGA via Jackson Heights (with the potential to be extended along the original proposed route to Willits Point).

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Free bus

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