New LGA Won't Get Built Without Delta's Help
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden on Monday jointly announced an ambitious $4 billion plan to completely demolish and rebuild aging LaGuardia Airport over the next five years.
And while New Yorkers are taking a wait-and-see attitude over whether it really happens — Cuomo insists that it’s real, and that Biden’s office fast-tracked the necessary paperwork — know this: if and when it happens, the new LaGuardia isn’t being built without the participation of Delta Air Lines.
Delta operates a major hub at LGA, with about 275 daily departures from Terminals A, C and D; the airline will be a partner in the plans for the redesigned airport and agreed to the massive changes it will adapt to with a completely new airport.
The first phase of construction is expected to begin next year, with a second phase overseen by Delta that will include financial investment. Last October, Delta and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey talked about plans to improve the region's airports and announced a design competition for LGA's central terminal.
Delta has already taken the first steps in modernizing LGA by investing nearly $260 million at Terminals C and D since 2012.
Cuomo praised Delta in his remarks, saying the airline is "a great corporate citizen in New York. Delta has stepped up to the plate in a big way.”
In a statement, Delta President Ed Bastian said: “Delta commends Governor Cuomo on his airport reconstruction plan, which will transform not only the New York City travel experience but also the landscape of the city itself. Delta has invested more than $2 billion in infrastructure upgrades and passenger enhancements at our hubs at LaGuardia and JFK, and the initiatives announced today are aligned with our ongoing commitment to providing an exceptional experience for anyone traveling through New York for business or pleasure. We look forward to working in partnership with the governor’s design commission on a comprehensive and complementary redevelopment plan that realizes our mutual goals and benefits all New York passengers.”
The plan will include a 200-room hotel and conference center, new state-of-the-art security, and the terminal will be moved 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway in the borough of Queens in order to create more runway and gate space.
So far, plans are calling for a singular terminal that will have connections to mass transit and a ferry system, instead of the usual sprawling mix of multiple terminals.
Taxes will be used to pay for about half the $4 billion bill, and private funding will cover the other half, though officials said the project will create 8,000 construction jobs and 18,000 permanent jobs.
According to the plan, the new LGA will be able to comfortable process 35 million passengers a year. At the moment, the outdated facility is busting at the seams trying to accommodate the 27 million fliers who pass through every year.
"It's slow, it's dated, it has a terrible front-door entrance way to New York," Cuomo said.
He added: "Welcome to the new LaGuardia Airport. This is what New Yorkers deserve and have deserved for a long time. And now we're going to get it.”
More by Rich Thomaselli
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