2017-08-16 / Features

Cuomo Inaugurates LaGuardia’s East Side Construction

BY THOMAS COGAN


Governor Andrew Cuomo said the LaGuardia rebuilding project makes up for years of letting the airport deteriorate. 
Photo Tom Cogan Governor Andrew Cuomo said the LaGuardia rebuilding project makes up for years of letting the airport deteriorate. Photo Tom Cogan New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came to LaGuardia Airport on August 8 to inaugurate construction of the airport’s east side.

The event was staged at the Port Authority’s huge Building 137 and was concluded just outside the building with a standard groundbreaking ceremony for Delta Air Lines’ $3.4 billion terminal, the initial unit in the east side expansion.

Present at the event were members of the Port Authority of NY & NJ and various building trade union figures and representatives of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) projects.

Borough President Melinda Katz was also present at the event and expressed a very positive sentiment about the project.

“Magic is happening all over this state,” she said, praising the governor and this latest event. Katz praised the unions and got a big cheer.


Renderings of the new LaGuardia Airport pictured top right: Renderings of the new LaGuardia Airport pictured top right: A short video from Delta followed. In it, the rebuilding of LaGuardia was called the first in America since the rebuilding of Denver’s airport in 1995.

The plan is for the east and west sides to be rebuilt in place between now and 2021, to produce a unified structure fully a mile long and fully “first-world.”

The next speaker was Rick Cotton, the new Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who said he has worked for Governor Cuomo for more than two years.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the completed airport will have nearly a third more concession space and about two-and-a-half times more runway. Delta has been at LaGuardia since 1969 and started its Boston-New York- Washington shuttle service in 1991. Bastian hailed the partnership of government and the private sector for making such an achievement possible.


The new LaGuardia Airport. Interior of Delta Air Lines’ eastern half. The new LaGuardia Airport. Interior of Delta Air Lines’ eastern half. Two other speakers preceded the governor. Jane Garvey of LaGuardia Gateway Partners said she has been in aviation for more than 30 years and in all that time has never seen a public project that has worked so well as this one. She expects to see it completed within the projected time limit. Mark Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and current head of the Urban League, was gladdened by “equal participation for MWBEs” in the project, calling it a first in New York state history. (Magic Johnson Enterprises, headed by the former National Basketball Association star, and Loop Capital, coalescing as JLC Infrastructure, are investing with LaGuardia Gateway Partners in building the western part of the airport.)


Interior of Delta Air Lines’ western half. Interior of Delta Air Lines’ western half. “This is what I call groundbreaking,” Morial said, and concluded that the airport bears the name of a great 20th century figure whom he linked to a 21st century figure by introducing the governor.

“We are living off the legacy of our grandparents,” Governor Cuomo began. “For decades – decades – we’ve done nothing.” Now though, he said, we have the opportunity to build the best. He pledged that “we’ll build an Airtrain, because no metropolitan area can be without a one-seat ride to the airport.” Cuomo went on to say that, “We’re obligated to fulfill it, because for too long we’ve let old infrastructure and past achievements wear out.” He lamented that at one time the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called for a new Pennsylvania Station to be made out of the old post office building nearby, but nothing was done as years passed. However, groundbreaking is to begin soon, he said, and at that time Penn Station can join LaGuardia Airport in a great revival – of New York, which he called the “progressive, entrepreneurial capital of the nation.”

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