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New Yorkers not ok with $4B La Guardia Airport renovation

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August 4
4:13 AM 2015

Ambitious as it may seem, New Yorkers are not impressed with Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to redesign the city's battered and poorly-maintained La Guardia Airport.

Several New York City blogs have pointed out the possible reasons why. To begin with, Benjamin Kabak at Second Avenue Sagas asks why Governor Cuomo would want to renovate the airport, which would come with a reported 4-billion dollar price tag, when the city's subway system, which nearly 5.6 million New Yorkers use every day to get around the city, remains neglected. The blog makes the argument that renovation efforts on the airport would only benefit commuters going to or coming from New York, and not the residents of the city itself.

The blog also claims that Governor Cuomo had also called La Guardia as "un-New York", because it is  "slow, dated, and universally derided" - a claim that could also be leveled at the 50-year-old subway cars plying the routes of the system, as well as the overcrowded platforms and antiquated signaling systems in place.  

Public disapproval of the La Guardia renovation has been easy to see. Some New York transit advocates have taken Cuomo's life-size likeness printed on a cardboard cutout to emphasize that the governor does not share the experience of taking the subway to get an idea of what commuters have to go through every day.

However, the most obvious sign of the difference in opinion between the state capital in Albany and the efforts to improve New York's public transport system is Mayor Bill de Blasio's no-show at the announcement of La Guardia's renovation.

Meanwhile, CityLab, another New York blog, reports that Governor Cuomo has reportedly ignored a proposal called Move NY that would have introduced a revamp in the toll system, and add an additional $1.5 billion annually to the city's transport funds in favor of the La Guardia renovation project.

But there may be a more political reason why Cuomo is set to make the renovation a reality. The support that the governor throws behind the project, says CityLab, is because of the fact that Cuomo uses air transport much more than he does public transport, and the renovation is the kind of project that would gain more media mileage for Cuomo and his administration.

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