The Times has furnished us with a nice #hottake today, and the premise of it is this: How about instead of wasting a bunch of money trying to refurbish the janky suburban strip mall that is LaGuardia, we just tear the whole thing down? Spicy!
In the opinion of George Haikalis, a civil engineer and former official with both the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council and New York City Transit, LaGuardia is not an airport worth saving. It's too decrepit, and the traffic it receives could easily be rerouted to the larger and far more functional JFK and Newark airports. This could only be achieved if the FAA were to lift the caps on the number of flights allowed to fly in and out of those two airports, which has been done elsewhere, in addition to using larger aircraft.
Haikalis also argues that LaGuardia's main—possibly only—redeeming quality is its proximity to Manhattan, which is apparently an insufficient selling point to warrant its forthcoming $4 billion overhaul. This is especially true because of its lack of subway access, though to be fair, the $4 billion price tag also encompasses the $450 million it would cost to add an AirTrain connection to the 7 in Willets Point, which might ease the commute, or not.
On the other hand:
The money budgeted for the La Guardia upgrades would be better used to create a long-proposed one-ride express-rail link between Manhattan and J.F.K., by reviving a long-disused, 3.5-mile stretch of track in central Queens and completing the modernization of the terminals at Kennedy. Currently, passengers who use the AirTrain to reach Kennedy must transfer from subways or the Long Island Rail Road. A world-class, direct rail trip to Kennedy could match the current travel time of even a fast, off-peak car trip to La Guardia.
Fair. But if we lost LaGuardia, what would we have left to complain about? The Port Authority bus terminal isn't enough to satiate our city's appetite for complaining.