NEW YORK – Plans for a rail link that would have linked LaGuardia Airport to New York City’s subway and commuter rail system were scrapped on Monday after intense criticism over its $2,000 price tag. $4 billion and the potential effects on surrounding neighborhoods.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul accepted recommendations from a panel of transportation experts who determined that increasing bus service and adding a shuttle would be more feasible in the short term. Hochul’s action effectively means that LaGuardia, in the borough of Queens, across the East River from Manhattan, will remain among the major US airports without rail service.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the 1.5-mile elevated link in 2015, similar to one serving John F. Kennedy International Airport in other parts of Queens. The link was envisioned to serve air travelers who currently rely on taxi and car services, and was initially estimated at $450 million.

Hochul ordered a review of the project after Cuomo resigned in 2021 amid a sexual harassment scandal. By then, criticism of the plan had intensified, with elected officials and conservationists saying the new train would damage the Queens neighborhoods it passed through and not be much faster than driving.

Democratic Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who represents part of the area the tie runs through, spoke out against it, as did former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a lawsuit filed in 2021, environmental and neighborhood groups asked the FAA to ask the Port Authority to stop the project, alleging that Cuomo and the Port Authority pushed it too quickly and used criteria arbitrary selection criteria to avoid meaningful consideration of many alternatives to the rail link.

Some of these alternatives include ferry service, extension of existing subway lines, and optimized bus service using dedicated lanes.

In a prepared statement Monday, Hochul thanked the airport operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, for “providing a clear and cost-effective pathway.”

“I accept the recommendations of this report and look forward to their immediate implementation by the Port Authority in close coordination with our partners at the (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), New York and the federal government,” a- he declared.

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