Governor Cuomo today also announced $1.5 million in additional funding to the Council for Airport Opportunity for the LaGuardia Career Center.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the opening of LaGuardia Airport's new Terminal C outer roadway system, completed six months ahead of schedule and in time to improve traffic flow at the airport as travelers return to the skies this summer. The roadway opening is the latest milestone in the ongoing $8 billion transformation of LaGuardia Airport into the 21st century gateway New York deserves.
"A completely redesigned road network -- with state-of-the-art traffic management systems and fewer signaled intersections -- will make it far easier for travelers arriving by vehicle to get to terminals or parking garages, representing a significant step forward as we create a world-class travel experience at a new LaGuardia Airport," Governor Cuomo said. "Along with plans to build AirTrain LaGuardia, which will create the airport's first reliable and fast mass transit rail link to Manhattan, the new roadway network puts LaGuardia Airport well on the way to becoming one of the most accessible airports in the nation."
Governor Cuomo today also announced $1.5 million in additional funding to the Council for Airport Opportunity for the LaGuardia Career Center which, working with Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities and Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC, will continue to provide opportunities for local residents to benefit from the airport's redevelopment through 2025. The Council for Airport Opportunity is a nonprofit organization that provides airport-related recruitment and job placement services to Queens residents, including those who are minority and disadvantaged.
Governor Cuomo's vision for a new and unified LaGuardia Airport - the first major new airport in the United States in 25 years - was unveiled in 2015, following the recommendations of the governor's airport advisory panel. Construction started in 2016, with significant milestones coming at a brisk pace, including the opening of a new Terminal B garage in February 2018, a new Concourse B in November 2018, a new Delta Concourse G in October 2019, a new Terminal B headhouse in June 2020, the first phase of Concourse A in August 2020, and the opening of the first taxiway beneath a pedestrian skybridge in May, 2021. Currently, more than half of LaGuardia passengers are using new gates and facilities.
The project - one of the largest public private partnerships in aviation history - includes the demolition and replacement of every terminal and concourse except for the historically landmarked Marine Air Terminal, all while continuing to maintain full flight operations which included passenger volume records in 2018 and 2019.
Completion of the Outer Roadway Network
Central to the vision for a new LaGuardia is creating a unified airport with two new main terminals connected by a Central Hall and a new, simplified and highly efficient roadway system that will allow for speedier vehicular movements.
The Port Authority has allotted $625 million to new roadway/bridge construction as part of the overall $8 billion LaGuardia Airport modernization project. This includes LaGuardia Gateway Partners work on the western half of the airport at the new Terminal B and Delta's rebuilding of the entire eastern half of the airport to replace existing Terminals C and D with a single new Terminal C, which will be complete mid-2022.
Twenty-six new bridges/flyovers replace 15 existing bridges and significantly eliminate the need for on-airport traffic signals. Prior to the start of the modernization program, there were 19 traffic signals for drivers to navigate at Terminals B, C and D. Following completion of the modernization project, only three of those 19 traffic signals are expected to remain. Most of the on-airport road crossings will have been eliminated by raising traffic up onto bridges, sometimes three levels high. To further improve traffic flow, the 8.4 miles of new airport roadway will feature more and wider lanes than the previous 7.7 miles of airport roadway.
As Governor Cuomo announced last spring, roadway construction was accelerated during the pandemic as a result of reduced traffic and travel volume at the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic, which slashed six months off the scheduled time for completion.
The piece of the Outer Roadway network that is being activated was a section of roughly 1 mile in length on two new bridges, consisting of upper and lower level roads, in front of the new Terminal C, which is under construction by Delta Airlines.
Council for Airport Opportunity
The additional funding for the Council for Airport Opportunity announced by the Governor is in addition to the $1.4 million allocated by the Port Authority of NY&NJ and airlines serving the airport in 2018 to establish the new partnership with Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities and Neighborhood Housing Services to provide the following services to local residents:
Job placement assistance with airport employment opportunities
Job development, skills training, and readiness programs
Career counseling, interview preparation, and orientation for success in employment
Operating out of a new satellite office opened in April 2019 at 107-20 Northern Boulevard in Corona, the career center has already assisted 3,575 customers and placed 376 people in jobs at LaGuardia Airport, including 245 from Queens.
The extension of CAO funding is intended to maximize access to job opportunities for local residents, both during the redevelopment and beyond, and is among the many community benefits associated with funding for AirTrain LaGuardia. Funding for the office was set to have expired at the end of 2021.
CAO recruits candidates for airport employment and provides them with job readiness counseling, career orientation and instruction in interviewing skills and job search techniques. Elmcor and NHS will add their in-depth knowledge of the community to ensure that the new CAO office reaches all local residents seeking to benefit from economic opportunities at LGA.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, "The completion of LaGuardia Airport's 8.4 mile roadway is the latest in a growing list of milestones on our way to delivering on Governor Cuomo's vision for a new world-class airport that will transform LaGuardia into the nation's best new airport. This is the first brand new airport in the U.S in 25 years and we are now less than a year away from its completion. Today's milestone is a major step to envision a whole new LaGuardia."
Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole said, "The completion of LaGuardia Airport's outer roadway network demonstrates our commitment to improving the travel experience for passengers at LaGuardia Airport, who will be able to move more efficiently around the airport on thoughtfully designed roads with fewer traffic lights and wider lanes that will reduce traffic delays. Easier movement around the airport is an integral part of our mission to create a world-class experience for travelers."
Managing Director of Delta's New York Corporate Real Estate Ryan Marzullo said, "Today's opening of this new airport roadway marks another key milestone in the construction of Delta's new home in Queens. Improving LaGuardia's roadway infrastructure is a critical component of the overall redevelopment project, because we want to ensure our passengers have a seamless experience traveling to and from the airport. Thanks to the incredible men and women in the New York building trades for helping us to complete our roads nearly six months earlier than originally planned. We appreciate the PANYNJ's partnership in making the opening of today's new roadway a reality."
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said, "This ahead-of-schedule of completion of LaGuardia's new outer roadway network makes the airport a much more appealing transportation option by enabling passengers to get in, out, and around the airport quickly and easily. The roadway's completion, along with the extension of the Council for Airport Opportunity's LaGuardia Career Center, are major milestones in the visionary $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia, a project that has already benefitted our borough by creating jobs, scholarships and STEM programs for the local community. This project is greatly enhancing our borough's economic competitiveness and strongly benefits the nearly 2.4 million people who call Queens home."
Executive Director of the Council for Airport Opportunity Andrew Campbell said, "Thanks to the investment by the Port Authority, CAO will continue to provide job placement services directly to the communities adjacent to LaGuardia Airport. This investment is critical at a time when so many are unemployed and struggling. CAO's LaGuardia Career Center will continue to ensure that there is opportunity for residents to secure jobs and share in the region's economic comeback."
Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens Yoselin Genao Estrella said, "NHS of Queens is thrilled with the work our partnership at the LaGuardia Career Center has done in improving the life of our neighbors over the last 3 years. Together we have referred thousands of Queens residents to the various job openings at the New LGA and provided a ray of hope to our neighbors especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we look into economic recovery, the LaGuardia Career Center serves as bridge to opportunities for our neighbors. I thank the Port Authority for their continued trust and support as our partnership keeps on working with the community to create sustainable communities through access to employment opportunities, inclusive economic development and training programs."
Executive Director of Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities Saeeda Dunston said, "As we continue to work towards recovery after this past year we are hopeful for our community members as we address employment opportunities with our partners at CAO and NHS. This commitment to continued funding for the Career Center is a commitment to a community that was considered the epicenter of the epicenter of COVID-19."
LaGuardia Redevelopment Plan
In 2015, Governor Cuomo first unveiled his vision for the comprehensive redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. Under his plan, a whole new LGA will provide a world-class, 21st century passenger experience featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture, more spacious gate areas and a unified terminal system. The $8 billion project, two-thirds of which is funded through private financing and existing passenger fees, broke ground four years ago this week in 2016.
Also in October of 2019, the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners formally authorized the funding needed, pending completion of the FAA's independent environmental review, to develop the new AirTrain LGA. With Governor Cuomo's key support, the long-awaited AirTrain LGA is on track to take its place at a new world-class LaGuardia Airport that will no longer be the only major East Coast airport without a rail link. AirTrain LGA would connect the airport with a new station at Willets Point and get travelers out of their cars and steadily reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Overall, the LaGuardia project is expected to generate $10 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in wages over the life of the project. As of the opening of the new Terminal B arrivals and departures hall, LaGuardia Airport contracts with certified minority and women-owned businesses, or MWBE, have now exceeded $1.8 billion. To date, the project has met Governor Cuomo's goal of 30 percent MWBE participation.
Following Governor Cuomo's vision for A Whole New LGA, the Port Authority is working hand in hand with local elected officials, stakeholders and Queens residents to ensure local businesses, MWBEs and jobseekers take advantage of new opportunities as part of LaGuardia Airport's redevelopment and economic growth. Since the beginning of the project, more than $700 million in contracts was awarded to local businesses based in Queens.
In April 2019, Governor Cuomo announced the opening of the new Council for Airport Opportunity (CAO) office in Corona, in partnership with two community-based organizations. CAO provides airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens. In December 2019, the permanent LaGuardia Redevelopment office opened to the public providing airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has also partnered with Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens and funded 11 full-tuition scholarships for students from local communities to attend Vaughn College. The LaGuardia Redevelopment Program has also partnered with the Queens Public Library to offer a STEM education program for local middle-school students, expected to begin its third year this summer.
The new unified airport offering the 21st century customer experience New Yorkers deserve is being built while maintaining operations at the existing airport. As new facilities are completed, old facilities are demolished, ensuring the airport never loses capacity. Even during peak construction, LaGuardia continued to set new records for passenger volume before the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight of the airport's 12 busiest days on record occurred during the summer of 2019 when terminal and roadway work was at its apex. In 2019, LaGuardia served over 31 million passengers, a 3.1 percent increase over the previous record passenger volume handled in 2018.