Testimony to Federal Aviation Administration
re: LaGuardia AirTrain EIS Review
Johnny Evers, PhD
Senior Director of Government Affairs
Good afternoon. My name is John Evers and I serve as the Senior Director of Government Affairs of the Business Council of New York State. The Business Council represents over 2,300 member companies throughout New York State. As the state affiliate of both the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Business Council maintains a broad-based membership representative of every segment of the economy. Part of my responsibility is the issue of transportation public policy.
Specific to this particular project, I will note that several of the major airlines are members of The Business Council. In fact, every single industry from the production of aircraft, the operation of airlines and airports, fuel, construction, and all related commerce and industry are represented by The Business Council. Similarly, all of these industries are linked together in the operation of LaGuardia and the other airports in New York State. Thus, The Business Council is not only interested in the continued operation of airports, but the expansion of capacity.
Our purpose today is simple: to make public our support of the AirTrain LaGuardia project. Rather than repeat the specifics of the physical project, I will concentrate on the obvious economic and transportation benefits. It has been noted that this project is a long time in the making. As a result of detailed engineering and planning, this project will greatly improve the transit of persons from Manhattan to LaGuardia. With 50 percent of LaGuardia passengers coming from or going to Manhattan, this project will ensure a fast and reliable alternative route. The project will connect with public transportation (Willets Point) that will be modernized to accommodate air travelers, linking Grand Central, Penn Station, the 7 Line Subway and improved interconnections with the Long Island Railroad. It will divert congestion from roads, will limit the number of transfers on existing subways, and is designed to fit into existing public road and transportation infrastructure.
In terms of economics, it should be noted that the project will compliment many multi-million dollar infrastructure projects at LaGuardia. This new $2.05 billion investment in AirTrain promises over 3,000 jobs during the construction phase, employing industries ranging from engineering and design to every level of construction through its planned completion in only 3-4 years. The multiplier effect alone will impact every industry from construction on the site to the airlines and the businesses located in and around LaGuardia.
With these benefits in mind, The Business Council supports the AirTrain project and urges the Federal Aviation Commission to grant its Environmental Impact Statement and allow the project to begin.