NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been ranked as the worst major airport in the entire country, but LaGuardia Airport is in for a $3.6 billion face lift.
The central terminal will be torn down piece by piece and rebuilt, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.
It’s cramped, it’s crowded and it’s dark. It handles 11.5 million passengers a year in a space designed for 8 million, and its gates are too small to handle many big planes.
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“Some of the access ways especially ‘D’ are very, very narrow and when you compare it to other airports in the United States it’s pretty dingy,” Woodmere resident Michael Zuckerman said.
“It is dark and it needs renovation for sure,” added passenger Jack Harouni of Sacramento, Calif.
“I avoid this airport as much as I possibly can. I’d rather take transfers when possible rather than fly out of here,” Medford’s Scott Nudelman added.
LaGuardia Airport is definitely the place travelers love to hate, even though it’s the closest to the city. So, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has heard the complaints and is planning on doing the massive rebuild.
“The central terminal building was a fine facility when it was built in its day. It, today, services millions more people than it was designed to accommodate,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foy told CBS 2’s Kramer.
The Port Authority is seeking a private company to foot the lion’s share of the bill, and it’s such a good deal 15 firms have expressed interest, Kramer reported.
“Using private dollars for airport terminals is new to the United States. It is most certainly not new around the world,” Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said.
The new terminal will also have wider gates so bigger planes that can carry more passengers can land at LaGuardia, officials said.
“The airspace in the region is constrained. One of the ways we can increase capacity here in the New York/New Jersey region, in particular, is to allow larger aircraft to access the central terminal building,” Foy said.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and could take as long as eight years because airport officials want to minimize passenger inconvenience.
The LaGuardia overhaul will also include a new parking garage and road improvements.
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