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AirTrain to LaGuardia canceled after Port Authority review

The controversial plan to build an AirTrain link to LaGuardia has been canceled after a review by the Port Authority.

Instead, a three-member panel said in a report released Monday that the Palestinian Authority should improve access through increased bus service, both through increased service on the MTA’s existing Q70 line and the creation of a shuttle bus service.

The panel, made up of former New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, former Heathrow Airport Director Mike Brown and current Denver International Airport CEO Phillip A. Washington, said that he was unanimously in favor of expanding subway service to the airport along the N. and W lines as a long-term access plan.

But any plans to build underground tunnels or elevated lines to the immediate southwest of LaGuardia face “serious funding and construction capacity challenges” given FAA regulations and proximity to Runway 4, the trio said in their summary.

In the short term, they asked the MTA to improve Q70 service, including increased frequency and the construction of a dedicated bus lane on the shoulder of the northbound BQE.

“The MTA looks forward to continuing to work with the Port Authority as it rolls out its new shuttle service to the airport, improving connections to LaGuardia Airport,” MTA spokesman John J. McCarthy told the Daily News. “We also look forward to working cooperatively on the panel’s recommendations regarding improvements to the Q70 bus service to LaGuardia from Woodside and Jackson Heights.”

A rendering of the AirTrain Rail Link at LaGuardia Airport.

The panel also urged the Port Authority to create non-stop express bus service from the end of the N and W line to the airport, using dedicated bus lanes at 31st St. and 19th Ave.

The AirTrain, developed under former Governor Andrew Cuomo, would have operated a new automated rail link to the airport from Willets Point. It was put on indefinite hiatus in 2021 after Gov. Hochul asked the bi-state agency to look at “alternatives” to the project. No construction had started.

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