Next stop, JFK: Cuomo outlines details of upcoming $10B airport redevelopment

Work will include expanding existing terminals

Rendering of John F. Kennedy International Airport
Rendering of John F. Kennedy International Airport

Officials on Wednesday announced the planned redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport, a project that is expected to cost as much as $10 billion.

At an event held by the Association for a Better New York on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Dan Tishman, vice chairman of AECOM and Tishman Construction, provided some details on the project, which will include expanding newer terminals (4,5 and 8) at the airport, redeveloping and relocating older terminals (1,2 and 7) and redesigning some of the major roads leading to the airport to cut down on traffic congestion. Tishman was named to an advisory panel in 2015 tasked with creating recommendations to redevelop LaGuardia Airport and JFK.

The on-airport development is expected to cost $7 billion to $8 billion, while the improvements to roads leading to the airport — such as adding lanes to the Van Wyck Expressway and reorganizing the Kew Gardens Interchange — is projected to cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion, Cuomo said. The state is also studying the feasibility of creating a “one-seat ride” to the airport from Manhattan, meaning that travelers wouldn’t have to transfer from subway to air train. Cuomo said the cost of such mass transit has yet to be determined. The private operators of the terminals will have to work individually with Port Authority to come up with development plans and are expected to finance the terminal work. Cuomo said the development opportunities will be offered on a “first-come, first-served basis.”

“Delta called my house at 5:45 a.m. this morning. Just saying,” he said.

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from left: Dan Tishman, Cuomo, Tom Prendergast and Matthew Driscoll

The announcement was also an opportunity for Cuomo to tout his planned $100 billion worth of infrastructure projects and the state’s use of design-build, which is supposed to simplify project contracts and shift cost liability to the private sector.  Late last year, the state broke ground on the $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport, which was recently voted as the worst airport in the United States.

Cuomo repeated a favored spiel on New York’s fall from being the nation’s preeminent builder to a state with infrastructure that can’t keep pace with the rest of the world. He said the fall from grace came sometime in the ’70s, following Watergate and financial crisis, which heralded a wariness in government. He noted that master builder Robert Moses’ final project, the World’s Fair, and World Trade Center in 1973 marked the end of an era for New York.

“We lost the confidence government, and in truth, we lost the competence,” he said, noting the delays that occurred with the redevelopment of the World Trade Center. He said such lack of confidence led many to criticize his $100 billion infrastructure plan, but he pointed to the completion of the Second Avenue Subway and the progress of the Tappan Zee Bridge — two projects he’s repeatedly extolled as being on time. Cuomo said they pushed to Complete The Second Avenue Subway project on time just to show people that they could.