Newark Liberty International Airport

Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

$50 Billion Plan Would Overhaul All 3 Major Tri-State Airports

June 11, 2018 - 3:10 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A long-range plan to rebuild the region’s three major airports was unveiled Monday.

As WCBS 880’s Mack Rosenberg reported, the Regional Plan Association laid out a $50 billion idea, which focuses on capacity – in other words, a complete overhaul on airport layout, public transit access, and new runways.

It is an element that RPA President Tom Wright said has been lacking.

“Adding new capacity to the airports to build them into the kind of economic powerhouse that we should have, we haven’t seen enough progress really, or really much at all,” Wright said.

The plan calls for two new runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport, an additional runway at Newark Liberty International Airport, and easier access to and from the Long Island Rail Road at LaGuardia Airport – with plans for an extension to the Jamaica subway station.

The ideas are collectively called: “Upgrading to World Class: The Future of the Region’s Airports.”

Wright said customer experience is not the problem, but rather the layout of the airports and how people can access them.

Wright compared the New York City metropolitan airports to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, one of the busiest in the world.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka agreed.

“How Atlanta’s airport is to that region is absolutely what Newark Airport should be to this region,” Baraka said. “What is missing is the investment; the kind of investment in the infrastructure – the transportation infrastructure – that we need,” Baraka said.

Baraka also emphasized another issue that has plagued Newark since the airport was built in 1928 – the need to connect the airport physically, socially, and economically to the South Ward neighborhood where it is located.

The upgrades would be made over the next 30 to 40 years.

Wright said the proposal is only a plan, and it will be up to the leaders in Trenton and Albany to put the plan into action.