He needs to floor one other of disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pet tasks.
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,” mentioned Gianaris, the deputy majority chief of the Senate.
“The LaGuardia AirTrain is significantly over budget,” mentioned Gianaris, the deputy majority chief of the Senate.
The LGA AirTrain was a high precedence of Cuomo, who pushed the mission via 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 construct and function the LGA AirTrain.
Cuomo’s substitute, Gov. Kathy Hochul, mentioned she’s reviewing whether or not to proceed with the AirTrain mission. 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 yr whereas possible dealing with a stiff Democratic major re-election problem.
Critics, together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, query 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 mentioned 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 mission, as does Sens Leroy Comrie, who chairs the committee that oversees the PA in addition to Sens. John Liu and Toby Stavisky, who symbolize jap and central Queens.
Liu, the previous metropolis comptroller who represents North Eastern Queens, which is served by the 7 practice, advised The Post on Sunday he’s in opposition to the LGA AirTrain as presently 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 mentioned in an announcement.
“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 mentioned.
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 other — having individuals driving to Willet’s Point to park their automobiles after which get on the AirTrain, turning the realm into a large car parking zone
“I believe it would encourage driving, not discourage it,” he mentioned.
“There’s a price to connecting LaGuardia Airport to the subway system — nevertheless it has to make sense. The present AirTrain mission will not be the best choice. There are higher methods to encourage individuals to get to and from LaGuardia than via this mission.
Gianaris mentioned Cuomo pressured the Port Authority, managed by New York board members he appointed, to approve the AirTrain mission with flimsy and slanted evaluation.
He additionally mentioned new federal guidelines enable for different options such because the extension of the subway line to the airport.
The N/W practice in Astoria is the closest practice line to LaGuardia Airport.
Gianaris mentioned extending an elevated N/W line alongside Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway is an choice value exploring, with out chopping via residential areas. Previous makes an attempt to increase the subway line from Astoria to LaGuardia have been thwarted by group opposition due to the disruption it might trigger.
The PA has defended the mission as an unlimited 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 mentioned 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 mission, regardless of its personal evaluation that it received’t shave journey time and will take longer than a cab experience into Manhattan.
The PA famous that 80 % of the greater than 120 individuals who attended FAA hearings on the AirTran mission endorsed it.
PA sources additionally declare mentioned extending the N/W line from Astoria to the airport will not be possible and categorical frustration that opponents haven’t supplied viable options.
Supporters embody 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 main points of the settlement with the town and state, and objected to offering one of many largest world firms 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 facility to stymie or block the mission. Amazon withdrew its plan to construct a campus in LIC on Feb. 14, 2019 –shortly after Gianaris was given the put up to dam the bold mission.