Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is entirely right to slam the Port Authority’s $2 billion plan for a LaGuardia AirTrain, even if she has a few minor facts wrong.
AOC’s fiery Friday letter asking the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the proposal misses a few facts about the project’s financing: The cash, for example, can’t readily go to a subway line extension, as she suggests.
But the project’s still a white elephant. The elevated tram from the Willets Park station near Citi Field to the airport doesn’t create a one-seat ride to LaGuardia. And every transfer adds uncertainty and delays, making the trip far longer than the supposed half-hour from Midtown.
Plus, air travelers have luggage, making even one transfer a huge hassle. And most New Yorkers would need more transfers to get to the 7 line or the LIRR to get to Willets Park.
On top of that, the cost of the AirTrain tram has already quadrupled from the half-million estimate of a few years back — and would surely rise more if it went ahead. The plan would also add costs to LIRR operations, with new direct service from Penn Station to Willets Park that now only runs for special events like Mets games.
If reducing traffic is the goal, just shore up dedicated bus lanes, as AOC and the Manhattan Institute’s Connor Harris each advise.
They won’t come just because you build it: This is just a recipe for a ton of empty trains and trams.
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