By Melanie Zanona - The Hill
Delta Air Lines has begun construction on a $4 billion rehabilitation project to upgrade its terminals at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which is part of a broader effort to completely rebuild the ailing facility.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) tweeted pictures of what the planned makeover will look like, saying, “It’s going to be a beautiful front door to New York.”
“Today’s groundbreaking at Delta’s facilities represents another step forward as we build an entirely new airport at LaGuardia,” Cuomo tweeted. “LaGuardia is a pillar of New York’s transportation network, but for too long the airport has been unworthy of New York State.”
Cuomo and other local officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the Queens-based airport on Tuesday that was held by Delta.
Delta will spend $3.4 billion to redesign its terminals — making it one of the largest private investments ever in a public asset in the state — while the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will kick in another $600 million.
Former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who now runs an infrastructure fund, will also invest in the airport, Cuomo announced Tuesday.
The new Delta facilities come in addition to a separate $4 billion public-private partnership that is already underway to rebuild the airport’s central terminal and move it closer to the Grand Central Parkway. The project will also create a central entry hall, expand parking, improve roadways and upgrade other supporting facilities.
Half of the new gates in the new Terminal B will be open to the public starting next year, with the main terminal area expected to be open in early 2020.
Plans to renovate the 37-gate facility were first announced in summer 2015. But President Trump’s promise to upgrade U.S. road, bridges and airports — which he has often called “third world” — has put the country’s crumbling infrastructure in a greater spotlight.
"Today's announcement marks yet another important milestone in the transformative redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.). “I'm thrilled with the progress being made to overhaul LGA and bring it into the 21st century because New Yorkers deserve a first-rate airport they can be proud of.”