The obsolete Central Terminal building at LaGuardia Airport has drawn ridicule from business travelers. Now Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to spend $3.6 billion to build a new one.
But this cost is much higher if one includes the diminished value of the properties of the 150,000 residents who live under LGA or JFK flight paths. LGA's key advantage, its proximity to Manhattan, would be all but eliminated if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority built one-seat ride express rail to JFK. For less than $1 billion, the MTA could restore the 3.5-mile disused LIRR Rockaway Beach line in Queens, producing a world-class rail link to JFK while speeding travel to Aqueduct and the Rockaways.
With this high-speed link, a strong case could be made for closing LGA. By handling displaced LGA passengers via larger aircraft at JFK, takeoff and landing noise would be drastically reduced and airline efficiency improved.
With LGA closed, this valuable 680-acre city-owned waterfront parcel could accommodate more than 30,000 units of housing toward the mayor's goal of 200,000 affordable units.
Mr. Cuomo should insist that full consideration of closing LGA be a key part of an FAA-mandated aviation noise study now underway.
President, Institute for Rational Urban Mobility