Some raise red flags over news of LaGuardia AirTrain

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021
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Some think the AirTrain would help modernize travel, but opponents say it's a boondoggle and all about the governor's ego.

EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- While many see the news of an AirTrain connecting LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan as positive for the city, some members of the community say they will fight it.

Frank Taylor is the president of the Ditmars Boulevard Block Association in East Elmhurst -- a community he's proud of.

"It used to be an extension of Harlem, you had many great people live here from Malcom X to Willie Mays," Taylor said.

But he says his beloved neighborhood is being mistreated by the governor who wants to put in an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport.

On Tuesday, the FAA gave the AirTrain the go ahead. The elevated track would go in along Flushing Bay.

RELATED | FAA approves AirTrain linking Manhattan, LaGuardia airport

"Every city in America is fighting to keep their waterways and ours is just taken, why is that?" Taylor said. "Because it's Black and Hispanics, because it's a brown area? Because it's no longer a mostly affluent area?"

The track would extend well past LaGuardia and right in front of homes. Yet the only stops will be at the terminals and at Willets Point -- where riders can access the LIRR and subways.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos says it's a bad use of $2 billion.

"It would be a much better investment for us to spend money to extend the N/W line in order to not only serve the airport, but also the thousands of people who live in that neighborhood," Ramos said.

Taylor also says extending the subway would be the right call and he's ready for a fight.

"I think we're going to win this, I think that people will see this as a wrong and try to right it," Taylor said.

The Port Authority, which would be in charge of the AirTrain, says it's a way to modernize travel, it will get cars off the road and get people to the airport faster.

But some residents say it's a boondoggle and all about the governor's ego.

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