Cuomo unveils $4B LaGuardia redo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pitching an innovative $4 billion makeover of LaGuardia Airport that would consolidate its four terminals into one hub and reposition the facility closer to Grand Central Parkway.

In addition, the airport would be connected to public transit via an AirTrain link and 24-hour ferry service. Delta Air Lines, which owns the current Terminals C and D, would be a “full partner” in the project with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport’s other two terminals.

The project requires Port Authority approval, but could break ground in 2016 and be completed by 2021, Cuomo said in pitching the plan before a luncheon crowd hosted by the Association for a Better New York.

“It’s not a plan, it’s not a sketch, it’s not a dream, it’s not a vision,” Cuomo said. “It is actually happening

Cuomo was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, who once said LaGuardia was something one would find in a “Third World country.” Earlier in the day, the vice president teamed with Cuomo to announce a major research effort for Rochester.

Cuomo said the redesigned airport would feature an island-gate system that would allow passengers to access their gates via raised pedestrian bridges that would be built high enough to allow aircraft to taxi underneath.

Together, the relocated terminals and island-gate system would create nearly two miles of new taxiway space, speeding departures and arrivals at what is one of the most delayed-plagued airports in America. On-time rate so far this year: About 70 percent, putting it dead last among the nation’s top 29 airports.