New York governor Andrew M Cuomo yesterday announced that the comprehensive redesign of LaGuardia Airport had taken a major step forward, thanks to a crucial approval vote by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The vote approved a lease with LaGuardia Gateway Partners for the building and operating of a new state-of-the-art Terminal B, having a central hall and concourse that would, for the first time, create a unified airport as also as the site for an air train station.
With the lease, the decks had been cleared for the first phase of the governor's redesign plan, which would ultimately transform the aging facility into a world-class transportation hub, equipped for the challenges and demands of 21st century travel and deserving of the state of New York.
The design and construction cost of the project amounted to $4 billion - two-thirds of which was financed by private funds and existing passenger fees. Construction would start shortly, with significant completion of portions of the airport opening in 39 months following the start of construction.
''This vote marks a critical step forward in our effort to overhaul LaGuardia Airport,'' said governor Cuomo. ''Our plan will fundamentally transform LaGuardia - replacing what is now an outdated and poorly designed complex with the world-class airport New York has always deserved. This represents a major milestone for the project - the first of many - and I look forward to seeing construction begin later this year.''
The LaGuardia project, essentially a plan completely tear down the existing facility and start from scratch, had been officially priced at $4 billion, but according to the Wall Street Journal, it might be closer to $5.3 billion, with recent work considered.
The renovations would be completed by 2021, with certain sections opening as early as 2019. The complete tear-down of Terminal B (good riddance) would facilitate the addition of a central terminal connecting the other two hubs.