It’s a tale as old as time: politicians choosing short-term cost savings over long-term, sustainable solutions. Unfortunately, Governor Kathy Hochul of New York is the latest offender, opting for new buses to transport passengers to and from the recently improved LaGuardia airport, rather than a direct rail link. This means that LaGuardia is now the first major airport on the East Coast without a direct rail connection, a decision that will undoubtedly have negative consequences on the environment and traffic.
The benefits of having a direct rail link to an airport are well known. It reduces congestion on the roads leading to the airport, thereby decreasing carbon emissions from idling cars and easing traffic for all commuters. Additionally, it provides a more convenient and efficient mode of transportation for passengers, reducing time spent in transit and increasing the appeal of air travel. Despite these clear advantages, Governor Hochul has chosen to ignore them in favor of a short-sighted approach.
Opting for new buses instead of a direct rail link is a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision that will lead to negative consequences for years to come. Buses are more polluting than rail, emitting more carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants. They are also subject to the same traffic as other vehicles, meaning that they may not be faster or more reliable than cars, taxis, or other forms of transportation. As a result, passengers may be less likely to choose the bus over other options, leading to continued traffic and emissions from individual vehicles.
Governor Hochul’s decision to go with new buses instead of a direct rail link to LaGuardia airport is like choosing a rusted bicycle over a sleek, modern motorcycle for a cross-country trip. It’s a short-sighted approach that will undoubtedly have negative consequences for the environment and commuters for years to come. If Governor Hochul truly cares about the future of New York’s transportation infrastructure, she must recognize the value of investing in sustainable, long-term solutions like a direct rail link.
Extending the N/W subway line to LaGuardia, for example, may appear daunting, but it is a necessary undertaking. Governor Hochul’s decision to invest in buses rather than rail ignores the fact that rail is the only viable option for decongesting the Grand Central Parkway once and for all. As Thomas K. Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, pointed out in Patrick McGeehan’s NY Times article, “Improved bus service is not a game-changer. The majority of people flying into and out of LaGuardia will continue to use private automobiles and taxis.”
The United States needs to get its act together and play catch-up with other countries that have already taken the lead in implementing direct rail links to their major airports. It’s a downright shame that connecting the subway to LaGuardia airport, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away at a mere 1.5 miles, would require an exorbitant sum of $7 billion and an obscene amount of time- a mind-boggling 12 years. It’s an absolute outrage that hardworking taxpayers are being given the short end of the stick and are not being offered sustainable, long-term solutions to their transportation problems.