Guess what's missing from the $4-billion redesign of La Guardia Airport

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that four billion dollars are going to be spent redesigning New York's La Guardia Airport.

La Guardia Airport, whose dilapidated terminals and long, unenviable record of traveler delays have made it a target of jokes and complaints for decades, will be completely rebuilt by 2021, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday.

So far this year, La Guardia ranked last among the 29 largest American airports in on-time departures, with slightly more than 70 percent of its flights counted as on time, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The main problem is "traveler delays."  Remember that.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport in northern Queens, estimates the overhaul will cost about $4 billion, most of which will go toward tearing down the Central Terminal Building, rebuilding it in place and augmenting it with a grand entry way.

The governor said the project would create 8,000 construction jobs and additional permanent jobs in the expanded airport, which would have more stores, restaurants and possibly even a conference center and a hotel.

What does this have to do with reducing traveler delays?  Nothing!  The problem is that La Guardia has only two runways (it used to have four).  La Guardia is on the bay.  If they had wanted to really solve this problem, they would have reclaimed a small sliver of the bay on two sides of the airport and made two additional runways.  That would have solved the problem of the delays.

But taking even a few hundred square feet of the bay would have incurred the wrath of environmentalists, a constituency that Cuomo is in thrall of.

Instead, it's much easier for him to spend pointless billions to please powerful labor unions and big real estate interests.  Politicians are like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt.  They like to build big monuments to themselves.  The Egyptians built large pyramids, and the politicians take thousands of tons of glass, metal, and concrete and build big buildings and airport terminals.  How nice for them; how wasteful for us.

The other problem is that there is no direct rail link to Manhattan.

Travelers would also have better options to get to La Guardia; Mr. Cuomo said the plan called for a rail link between the airport and a subway station in the Willets Point section of Queens, as well as re-establishing ferry service to the airport.

Great.  So passengers have to lug bags onto a short-run train, lug them off, walk some more to the subway, put their luggage on, and ten stops later, they are in central Manhattan.  Instead, they should work with modifying existing lines to extend the subway to the airport and make an express route that goes one stop directly to Manhattan.

This story illustrates the difference between the private sector and the public sector.  If a company ran the airport, it would have its eye on the ball for the things that matter to customers, like flight delays and ground transport.  But when the government is running things, it's more concerned with its own architectural vanity than solving problems.

This article was produced by, the conservative news site.

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