JFK airport in line for $10bn upgrade

A $10bn programme of works to modernise Kennedy Airport in New York was announced on Wednesday, 4 January, by state governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo told a meeting of the Association for a Better New York in Midtown that the plan would involve modernising the airport’s terminals and increasing capacity on the transit systems connecting it to New York City.

Among the measures proposed are adding extra lanes to the congested Van Wyck Expressway and the Kew Gardens Interchange, a rail connection with Long Island, and the refurbishment and interconnection of the airport’s terminals.

This last measure is required because the airport has relied on freestanding terminals, many of which were built by the airline that uses them. The new system will also have a security system that uses facial recognition technology.

The governor said the upgrade would also lead to a 309% reduction in the airport’s carbon emissions.

The governor did not give a timetable for the work, but he indicated that about $7bn of the funding required will come from private investors as part of public-private partnerships.

The announcement is part of a wider drive to improve the state’s infrastructure. A plan to overhaul LaGuardia airport is already under way, and other schemes are in place at Penn Station, the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Second Avenue subway.

The plan is likely to prove controversial because it cuts across plans being developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates La Guardia and Kennedy. The commissioners are scheduled to meet on Thursday to vote on a $30bn long-term development scheme that earmarks only $1bn for improvements at JFK.

Image: Cuomo made the announcement on Wednesday (Office of the Governor)

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