Story at a glance:

  • The project is set to be the "most expensive subway ever per rider."
  • The AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport travels away from Manhattan.
  • The project is more expensive than the 2nd Avenue Subway, currently the most expensive subway.

The $2.1 billion project started by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to build an “Airtrain” between LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and eastern Queens could become the most expensive project per rider, according to a new report and to The New York Post.

The current most expensive subway is the 2nd Avenue subway, which was built in 2017. The “AirTrain” is estimated to cost $350,000 per rider, whereas the 2nd Avenue subway costs the city $180,500, according to The New York Post. 

The “AirTrain” is a transit line dedicated to connecting riders to LGA and the eastern part of Queens near Howard Beach, which is closer to the John F Kennedy Airport (JFK).


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“Experts believe the current Second Avenue Subway was the most costly transit project ever built, but the LaGuardia AirTrain will be about twice as expensive when comparing construction costs to daily ridership,” the report from Reinvent Albany said. “The LGA project is more about making it easier to drive and park at LaGuardia than creating a superior transit option.”

The Airtrain project has plenty of critics, as The New York Post reports, who also argue the route isn’t very logical. 

The train travels away from Manhattan and requires travelers going to Manhattan to first travel east and then travel west via the subway. The train would attract 6,000 daily riders, according to the group.

Reinvent Albany’s new rider figures are based on the Port Authority of New York and New Jerseys expected 13,117 AirTrain trips per day, minus the 3,547 riders and another 3,645 bus or train.

“You dig deeper and you see a lot of the people coming are basically car trips,” former city transportation department official Jon Orcutt said, The New York Post reports. “They’re just moving the parking lot to a neighborhood over.”

Reinvent Albany has asked Gov. Kathy Hochul to cancel the project from Reinvent Albany.


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Published on Sep 10, 2021