Speaking at his daily City Hall press briefing, Hizzoner said the controversial “wrong-way” monorail has “some virtues,” but needed to be reassessed now that the notorious bully ex-governor is out of the picture.
“We were dealing with an aberrant situation — a governor who would not work with anyone, who created fear, who rushed through projects whether good or bad,” the mayor said.
“Now we get a chance to look at this thing in the clear light of day, where, actually, there’s a much more mature, humane environment where we can look at this and decide on the merits, ‘Does it make sense?’”
“Let’s do that assessment now,” he said. “Let’s reassess it and figure out — if there’s a better way, let’s go in that direction; if there’s not, go with the original plan. But it’s no longer an imperial building project, it can be looked at objectively.”
The LGA AirTrain was a top priority of Cuomo, who pushed the project through despite opposition from some transit advocates and even officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the big state agency that oversees the regional airports and would build and operate the LGA AirTrain.
Critics including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) question the logic of the route, which would require Manhattan-bound riders to first travel east — away from the island — before connecting to the subway at Willets Point and then heading back west. They said it’s faster to take a cab or bus to Midtown and the cost doesn’t justify the number of riders who would use it.
De Blasio is just the latest elected official to throw cold water on the future of the plan, which has picked up prominent opposition since Cuomo resigned in August.
On Wednesday, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and influential state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) both expressed reservations about the project.
Richards, who is on the record as an AirTrain supporter, told The Post he “would kick the can down the road” so his borough could focus on recovering from Hurricane Ida and COVID-19.
Comrie, who chairs the state Senate Authorities Committee, unequivocally opposes the Cuomo proposal.
“The ability to provide reliable transportation at a high amount of usage is minimal,” he said Wednesday.
Asked on Thursday about the growing opposition, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is in conversation with Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton about the project’s future, and will also consult with local elected officials.
“I’ve had many conversations with Rick Cotton and, and we’ll be looking for their recommendations and what they’re doing at the board level on moving forward,” Hochul said during a press conference in Manhattan.
“My personal view on the Air Train is that this is something that can be examined in terms of our priorities right now. I need to make sure that we have the resources.”
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan and Carl Campanile
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