(Adds portion that could come from private investment)
By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK Jan 4 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
proposed a $10 billion renovation of John F. Kennedy
International Airport and surrounding roadways on Wednesday, his
latest salvo in a roughly $100 billion push statewide to bring
decaying old infrastructure into the modern era.
Cuomo's proposal, based on recommendations from a study
panel, would transform the New York City airport by unifying its
terminals, which are currently disconnected.
It would also redesign internal roadways to eliminate
bottlenecks, centralize parking lots and revamp amenities, Cuomo
said at a luncheon sponsored by the Association for a Better New
York, a development industry group.
Those changes could cost up to $8 billion, most of which
might come from private investments. A proposed expansion of the
Van Wyck Expressway, which leads to the airport, would cost
another $2 billion.
Mass transit improvements - either the creation of a
one-seat ride to the airport or expansion of existing capacity -
would carry a yet-undetermined price tag. Currently,
mass-transit passengers have to take at least two trains or a
bus and a train to the airport.
"This is a race, my friends," Cuomo said, referring to
London, Dubai and other international cities speeding ahead with
major infrastructure developments and glamorous,
state-of-the-art airport projects. "We sat on our laurels for
Speaking to reporters after the luncheon, Cuomo said the
Federal Aviation Administration had "short-changed" New York on
the number of flight slots allowed at the airport. He said
officials would urge Washington to authorize more slots.
If it moves ahead, the airport revamp would follow a $4
billion renovation of LaGuardia Airport, the city's other major
airport, currently underway via a public-private partnership.
Both airports are in the city's Queens borough.
The airports are operated by the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey. While LaGuardia is notorious for its decrepit
conditions, Kennedy Airport is in better shape, but still ranks
59th out of the top 100 airports in the world, Cuomo said.
The city is also served by Newark Liberty International
Airport in New Jersey, which is run by the Port Authority.
The Democratic governor, viewed as a possible future
presidential candidate, pushed New York City's Second Avenue
subway line - decades in the making - to finally open formally
on Dec. 31.
Now in his second four-year term in office, he has
emphasized big construction projects, including a replacement of
the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York
City and the LaGuardia Airport renovation.
The opening of the subway extension coincides with the
incoming administration of Republican President-elect Donald
Trump, who has pledged to jump-start infrastructure projects
through tax credits.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Dan