Vice President Joe Biden was joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday afternoon to announce a $4 billion upgrade to the central terminal building at LaGuardia Airport. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Vice President Joe Biden famously once referred to LaGuardia Airport as something one finds in a "third-world country."
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made several appearances with Biden since then, and on Monday, with the vice president once again at his side, Cuomo announced that LaGuardia was going to be torn down and rebuilt.
"LaGuardia is un-New York. This is a new phrase. You've heard the phrase un-American? Well, I'm starting a phrase. It is un-New York," Cuomo said. "LaGuardia is slow. It's dated. It is a terrible front-door entrance way."
Right now, LaGuardia's terminals are spread out and don't all connect. The redesign would create a larger, more integrated facility, making transportation in and out of the airport more seamless.
The cost for the first phase of construction is $4 billion. It will be split 50-50 between the Port Authority, which runs the airport, and the private sector.
Construction for phase one is set to begin next year and will take at least four-and-a-half years to complete. It's unclear at this point how many construction phases will be needed and what the total cost will be.
Cuomo drew praise from the vice president for his vision.
"You've got a governor, maybe the biggest governor in the country, who thinks big, and thought big on this project," Biden said.
On a separate transportation front, the governor has also been in an extended push-and-pull with Mayor Bill de Blasio over funding for the $26 billion mass transit capital plan. There is currently an $11 billion gap, and the governor has asked the city to pony up $3 billion of that.
Cuomo announced for the first time that the state will pay its share next year.
"The state will fund the $8.3 billion. We'll put it in the budget next year," Cuomo said. "We believe in the MTA capital plan."
In addition to the vice president, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were at the announcement. Mayor Bill de Blasio was not. A spokesperson for the governor says he was invited. The mayor said earlier that he only attends events when he has a speaking role or something to announce.