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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will not proceed with construction on a proposed AirTrain for LaGuardia Airport following the conclusion of a state-backed evaluation released this week.

Transportation and construction industry experts “failed to identify a construction approach” that could overcome the “significant challenges and complexities” associated with plans for a 2.3 mile automated rail line connecting LaGuardia to the Long Island Railroad’s Willets-Point station in Queens, according to a report released on Monday.

Instead, they recommended several alternatives to bring passengers and workers to the airport by increasing capacity on existing bus routes.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement that she accepts the report’s recommendations and looked forward to “immediate implementation.”

“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,” she said.

Planning for the line, similar in style to John F. Kennedy International Airport’s AirTrain, started under Hochul’s predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, whose office initially pegged the project’s price tag at $450 million in 2015.

Under the original proposal, LaGuardia, the only major airport without a direct rail link on the East Coast according to the Port Authority, would have been tied into the region’s wider transportation system through the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Long Island Rail Road and connections to the 7 subway line, promising to set the airport up for easier access to the public.

Critics focused on the “wrong way” orientation of the line, which would have sent riders away from Manhattan to catch trains to that borough, and community groups said it would have a negative impact on Queens neighborhoods.

The projected cost ballooned to $2.1 billion by the time Cuomo resigned in 2021 amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and Hochul, the Empire State’s newly-minted governor, faced increased political pressure to reconsider the project.

A lawsuit filed with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals by several groups took aim at decisions by officials at the Federal Aviation Administration to green-light the rail’s preliminary blueprints, as well as New York State Department of Transportation approval to acquire and then transfer to the Port Authority public property along the planned route.

The Port Authority’s evaluation echoed those sentiments, concluding that the necessary work, which would turn three miles of densely populated urban terrain into a construction site for anywhere from 3 to 4 years, would make for a particularly messy and disturbing process open to unforeseen time and cost overruns.

They recommended instead several other options, ranging in cost from $100 million to $1.2 billion, that would upgrade the MTA’s existing Q70 bus route, already servicing the airport.

The authority is currently in the midst of an $8 billion overhaul of LaGuardia’s facilities and opened its newest terminal, hosting Delta Air Lines, in June.

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