April 6, 2021 By Christina Santucci
State Senator Jessica Ramos and several Queens community organizations are holding a town hall meeting this evening – to discuss the $2 billion LaGuardia AirTrain plan.
The event is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. April 6 at the World’s Fair Marina Restaurant, located at 1 Marina Road in Corona. Those interested in attending can also join via Zoom (ID number: 837 7037 4198, passcode: 458841).
Ramos and the community groups oppose the project, which would link the airport with the subway and Long Island Rail Road. The 1.5-mile rail line would have a station at Willets Point – where the No. 7 train and the Port Washington branch of the LIRR are located – and two stations inside LaGuardia Airport.
During a public comment period last year, Ramos submitted her criticisms of the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “As State Senator for the district of the proposed AirTrain construction, I am voicing my strong opposition against the project which will not help, but harm my community especially during a pandemic,” she wrote in October.
Opponents have said they are concerned about the environmental impact of the plan and potential noise pollution resulting from construction and operation of the LGA AirTrain. Critics have also argued that the No. 7 train is already overcrowded and adding airport travelers to the line would make it worse.
Ramos urged the FAA in her comments to explore alternatives “such as expanding bus access and the possibility of an extension to the N and W subway lines.” The N/W line currently ends in Astoria.
But the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates LaGuardia Airport, has touted the project as the best way to make travel time between LaGuardia and Manhattan more reliable — and would make the trip a 30-minute commute from midtown.
The plan passed a major milestone earlier last month when the FAA published its final environmental impact statement (EIS).
The FAA is expected to issue its Record of Decision – which will explain its final decision on the plan – later this spring. If given a green light, construction could begin in June 2021 and finish in December 2025, according to the final EIS.
Tonight’s town hall meeting is being sponsored by Ramos, the Ditmars Blvd. Block Association, Guardians of Flushing Bay and Sensible Way to LGA Group Coalition.
Registration is not required for the event, and masks will and social distancing measures will be required for those who attend in person.
Organizers said if the restaurant reaches the maximum in-person capacity, attendees may be asked to sit upstairs or in an outside area, and speakers would be set up to allow them to participate.