FAA releases draft environmental statement for LaGuardia AirTrain project

Aug. 25, 2020
The project proposes to connect LaGuardia Airport to NYCT and LIRR via an automatic people mover.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain.  

The project would provide travelers and airport staff a connection to Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit from the airport. The proposed automatic people mover aims to increase reliability of travel times between LaGuardia and New York City, enhance airport access for passengers and employees, reduce nearby off-Airport traffic congestion and increase availability of employee parking and expand airport areas for storage of equipment and materials for maintenance activities.

The DEIS considered several alternative options to provide non-car access to LaGuardia including ferry, helicopter and gondola service. None of the alternatives considered were retained for further analysis outside of the no action alternative and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ) alternative for a fixed guideway to run from Willets Point Station via Roosevelt Avenue and Flushing Bay Promenade.

PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton said they were pleased to see the federal environmental review process for the project moving forward.

“We are one step closer to realizing the benefits of the project for the region. AirTrain LGA will provide millions upon millions of air travelers with a reliable, 30-minute trip from midtown Manhattan to the airport. Getting people out of cars and onto environmentally friendly rail mass transit will reduce traffic congestion for all motorists and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the communities surrounding the airport. In addition, the project will provide thousands and thousands of good paying jobs and contribute critically important economic activity to help drive the desperately needed recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

O’Toole and Cotton’s statement continued, “Community input has already been extensive, resulting in the shift of the proposed alignment to move to the northern edge of the Grand Central Parkway further from the adjoining Ditmars Blvd neighborhood. There will be no taking of private property whatsoever, either residential or commercial. The proposed route requires no construction within any residential or commercial areas. It is by far the best alignment amongst the more than 40 alternatives evaluated in the federal review process to date. The kickoff of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement public comment process enables further input as the FAA advances the review.”

Comments will be accepted on the DEIS through Oct. 5.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.