Plans to construct the US-based AirTrain project that would connect New York City to LaGuardia Airport have been abandoned due to increased costs.

According to engineering/construction companies, the planned light-rail train project is estimated to entail an investment of $2.4bn-$6.2bn.

In comparison, capital costs for the bus options are expected to be around $500m, stated the firms.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is responsible for public transportation in New York City, has worked with an expert panel and consultants to study better travel options to LaGuardia Airport.

Based on their analysis, the expert panel “did not recommend any light rail options, but advanced bus options that carry equivalent ridership as the former Mets-Willets Point alignment.”

The enhanced bus services are projected to serve around five million passengers a year. 

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Among the recommendations is the creation of a new non-stop shuttle service.

This service will be between the airport and the last stop on the N/W subway line at the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd station, which would involve the use of electric buses and dedicated bus lanes.

The panel also recommended upgrades to the MTA Q70 LaGuardia Link bus service. 

However, it ruled out ferries, which the study conceded would lure a ‘very low level’ of ridership. 

In a statement, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “New Yorkers deserve world-class transportation to world-class airports. Shortly after taking office, I asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine mass transit solutions for LaGuardia Airport that would reduce car traffic and increase connectivity, while meeting the demand of our customers.

“I am grateful to the expert panel, the technical consultants, and the Port Authority for providing a clear, cost-effective path forward with an emissions-free transit solution for customers.”

Designed to link the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in Willets Point, AirTrain LaGuardia was a proposed 2.4km elevated railway system.