Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday refused to back down from his $2 billion plans for an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport — even while admitting the Big Apple’s transit system is facing an unprecedented financial crisis.
Cuomo insisted that the widely panned scheme was still “essential” for New York City, even as the Port Authority was forced to ax jobs and freeze other investments amid a coronavirus-induced downturn in travelers.
“It’ll be the single greatest economic boost that has been done in generations,” the governor insisted at a press briefing Sunday as he was challenged about sticking with the expensive project despite the cash crunch.
“To have the first airport that’s opened in 25 years open in New York City is going to be a very big deal. And the AirTrain is part of that.”
The Port Authority said Thursday that it expects to have lost $1.7 billion by the end of the year — almost matching the planned AirTain’s pricetag — which Cuomo suggested was just par for the course.
“If we don’t get federal aid, everybody has a doomsday budget — Port Authority, MTA, New York City, New York State,” he said.
While defending his plans, he instead said it was “madness” for the feds not to provide state and local funding during the crisis.
When Cuomo first proposed the AirTrain in 2015, his office said it would cost just $450 million — a price tag that soared to more than four times that to $2.05 billion.
The shuttle has been panned by a wide range of critics who say travelers are unlikely to take its bizarre planned route, which goes past Citi Field instead of into Manhattan. Even progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once marveled about seeing eye-to-eye with Post editorials on the subject.
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