May 29, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
The Federal Aviation Administration will be holding two public scoping meetings in East Elmhurst next week to get public input on the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain project, which is now entering the environmental review process.
The meetings aim to get public comment on the project, which involves constructing a 1.5-mile elevated train line that would link LaGuardia Airport to Willets Point—near Citi Field. The Willets Point terminal would then connect to the Long Island Rail Road and the No. 7 train.
The proposed route would run along the Grand Central Parkway and across the edge of the Citi Field parking lot. The train would reduce the travel time from Manhattan to LaGuardia down to 30 minutes, officials say.
Comments collected at these hearings, which will be held June 5 and 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel, will provide the FAA with feedback as to neighborhood concerns–and what the agency should study as part of the environmental review process.
Public feedback will typically involve issues pertaining to noise, air quality, light emissions and safety.
These meetings come after the FAA’s official notice of intent was issued on May 3 to announce the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), pushing the project into the required public comment period, which will end June 17.
The meetings, according to the FAA, will be held in an open house format where people can learn about the environmental aspects of the project, ask questions and ultimately comment. A public record will be kept of the meetings and the comments.
The project, estimated to cost $1.5 billion, aims to reduce traffic congestion and provide travelers with access via efficient public transportation. Currently, 90 percent of LaGuardia flyers travel by car to get to the airport, according to the Port Authority.
The project would not require the acquisition of private property.
After the public comment period is completed, the FAA will write up a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) with its findings on the project’s impact. The public will then have at least 45 days to provide additional commentary based on those findings.
The FAA will then produce a Final Environmental Impact Statement that must address the public’s concerns. The FAA will then render a final decision as to whether to proceed with the project.
The public is also able to send comments on the project to the following email address: [email protected].