He needs to floor one other of disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pet initiatives.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a strong Queens lawmaker instrumental in killing Cuomo’s signature deal to have e-tail large Amazon open a headquarters alongside the borough’s waterfront, is now setting his sights on the “wrong way” $2.1 billion “AirTrain” between LaGuardia Airport and Eastern Queens.
“I think we should put a stop to building this particular proposal and find the best option available,” stated Gianaris, the deputy majority chief of the Senate.
“The LaGuardia AirTrain is significantly over budget,” stated Gianaris, the deputy majority chief of the Senate.
The LGA AirTrain was a prime precedence of Cuomo, who pushed the project by way of regardless of opposition from some transit advocates and even officers on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the big-state company which oversees the regional airports and would build and function the LGA AirTrain.
Cuomo’s substitute, Gov. Kathy Hochul, stated she’s reviewing whether or not to proceed with the AirTrain project. Her most up-to-date feedback have been lukewarm at greatest.
Gianaris’ opposition places Hochul in a tricky spot, given his management function within the Senate. She wants the Senate Democratic majority to again her agenda subsequent year whereas possible going through a stiff Democratic main re-election problem.
Critics, together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, question the logic of the route, which might require Manhattan-bound riders to first journey east — away from the island or the “wrong way”— earlier than connecting to the crowded 7 subway line at Willets Point after which heading again west. They stated it’s sooner to take a cab or bus to midtown and the price doesn’t justify the variety of riders who would use it.
A cross-section of Queens lawmakers representing racially, ethnically and ideologically various neighborhoods throughout the borough now oppose AirTrain.
Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents the East Elmhurst neighborhood by LaGuardia Airport, opposes the project, as does Sens Leroy Comrie, who chairs the committee that oversees the PA in addition to Sens. John Liu and Toby Stavisky, who signify jap and central Queens.
Liu, the previous metropolis comptroller who represents North Eastern Queens, which is served by the 7 prepare, instructed The Post on Sunday he’s in opposition to the LGA AirTrain as at present designed.
“A modernized transit link to LaGuardia Airport is vital to our region’s vitality and should be pursued in a collaborative and sustainable matter. The plan as currently conceived is far from that and should be returned to the drawing board,” Liu stated in a press release.
“Infrastructure projects of this size, scope and cost must always consider benefits to the immediately impacted community as well as to the greater region.”
Gianaris — whose Astoria/Long Island City district borders LaGuardia Airport from the west — agreed with critics’ arguments that the AirTrain is misguided.
“The current proposal would have people taking the overcrowded 7 train and then doubling back. A lot of people won’t take advantage,” he stated.
He added, “It’s about getting people to the airport faster and getting out of their cars.”
But Gianaris claimed the AirTrain would do the alternative — having folks driving to Willet’s Point to park their automobiles after which get on the AirTrain, turning the world into an enormous parking zone
“I believe it would encourage driving, not discourage it,” he stated.
“There’s a price to connecting LaGuardia Airport to the subway system — nevertheless it has to make sense. The present AirTrain project is just not the most suitable choice. There are higher methods to encourage folks to get to and from LaGuardia than by way of this project.
Gianaris stated Cuomo pressured the Port Authority, managed by New York board members he appointed, to approve the AirTrain project with flimsy and slanted evaluation.
He additionally stated new federal guidelines permit for different alternate options such because the extension of the subway line to the airport.
The N/W prepare in Astoria is the closest prepare line to LaGuardia Airport.
Gianaris stated extending an elevated N/W line alongside Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway is an choice price exploring, with out chopping by way of residential areas. Previous makes an attempt to increase the subway line from Astoria to LaGuardia had been thwarted by neighborhood opposition due to the disruption it will trigger.
The PA has defended the project as an infinite environmental and financial plus for Queens and the town.
“The LaGuardia AirTrain will create a reliable and affordable rail link to LaGuardia Airport, while removing millions of cars from local streets and highways, and creating 3,000 good-paying union construction jobs along with $500 million in opportunities for Queens-based minority- and women-owned businesses,” the PA stated in a earlier assertion.
“A robust package of community benefits includes $50 million to provide massive capital upgrades and long-term maintenance at the Malcolm X Promenade at Flushing Bay and other local parks, the planting of 5,000 new trees in the community, middle school STEM programs, and full-tuition college scholarships for local students.”
The Federal Aviation Administration authorized the LGA Airtrain project, regardless of its personal evaluation that it gained’t shave journey time and will take longer than a cab experience into Manhattan.
The PA famous that 80 p.c of the greater than 120 individuals who attended FAA hearings on the AirTran project endorsed it.
PA sources additionally declare stated extending the N/W line from Astoria to the airport is just not possible and categorical frustration that opponents haven’t provided viable alternate options.
Supporters embrace the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Gianaris was the pivotal institutional determine in scuttling the Cuomo-negotiated deal for Amazon to find a large East Coast headquarters alongside the Long Island City waterfront, in his district. He was miffed that he wasn’t consulted on the small print of the settlement with the town and state, and objected to offering one of many largest international corporations with $3 billion in tax and different authorities subsidies.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins appointed Amazon foe Gianaris as her rep to an obscure panel, the state Public Authorities Control Board, which had the ability to stymie or block the project. Amazon withdrew its plan to build a campus in LIC on Feb. 14, 2019 –shortly after Gianaris was given the put up to dam the bold project.