Tag Archives: Port Authority

LaGuardia Airport to get $4 billion, ’21st-century’ overhaul


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

After Vice President Joe Biden compared it to a “third-world country,” LaGuardia Airport is getting a much-needed makeover bringing it to the 21st century and allowing New York City to start to once again lead in infrastructure.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined by Biden on Monday afternoon to announce that the Queens airport would be receiving a complete redesign taking it from a 1939 airport to a globally renowned, state-of-the-art facility.

“LaGuardia is slow. It’s dated. It’s a terrible front door entranceway to New York. It is a lost opportunity. It’s almost universally decried as a poor representation of an airport let alone a New York airport,” Cuomo said.

Bringing up the vice president’s comments last year that referred to LaGuardia Airport as a “third-world country,” Cuomo said that it served as a wake-up call to a city that at one point in history was leading the way in infrastructure.

“It was a strong, some would say prophetic vision, which I believe in many ways is an impetus to say to New York, ‘Get up, move.’ This is not acceptable and it’s not acceptable for New York,” Cuomo said about Biden’s comment.

LGAExistingSite RESIZED

An image of the current LaGuardia Airport.

In order to tackle the issue of the airport — which passengers have called dirty, cramped, hot and delayed — the governor appointed an advisory panel, led by Dan Tishman, to work with the Port Authority and come up with a new plan for LaGuardia.

After getting together and going over goals and obstacles, the group came up with the plan that would create an entirely new facility, replacing the current airport in its entirety. It would run adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway, 600 feet closer to the parkway than it is now. There would be more flight operating space, a world-class retail and hotel complex, and a unified terminal instead of the current isolated terminals. Later, there will be AirTrain and ferry access.

“The goal is not really to repair and rebuild a 1939 airport. We want an airport that is a state-of-the-art facility. We want a globally renowned airport for the next century that is worthy of the name New York and what we’re doing,” Cuomo said.

 Photo courtesy of Office of Gov. Cuomo - Kevin P. Coughlin

Photo courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s office – Kevin P. Coughlin

The project is a $4 billion public-private sector partnership with more than 50 percent of the money being privately funded. The first half of the project is expected to break ground next year with new facilities approximately in 39 months, with all construction complete within 18 months thereafter. Delta has also agreed to be a partner in the new airport and will work to redevelop their two terminals — C and D — to work together with the unified terminal.

The airport will remain open and functional during the construction phase.

“This is the greatest city in the world. It’s not a hyperbole. It’s the greatest city in the world and it requires a 21st-century infrastructure,” Biden said. “The airport has a first-class workforce, and they deserve a first-class facility to serve customers who count on them.”


In response to the project plan, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said she recommends the Port Authority expands its Aircraft Noise program throughout construction phases of LaGuardia; creates a cellphone lot; and creates more short- and long-term airport parking.

“As much as LaGuardia and JFK International are tremendous economic assets to Queens and to the region, with them has come the need to mitigate the direct, daily impacts of growth upon the thousands of families immediately surrounding them,” Katz said. “When convening this blue-ribbon panel on which I have had the pleasure to serve, the governor charged us with ensuring that community needs are addressed, especially with regard to noise and alleviating traffic congestion.”

Along with LaGuardia, Cuomo also mentioned improvements that will take place at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York, to accommodate more commercial flights to reduce traffic at LaGuardia and JFK airports and make the airport a “New York Free Trade Zone”; renovations at JFk airport such as a historic renovation of the Saarinen building being constructed to a state-of-the-art hotel; and putting to use the Republic Airport also as a “New York Free Trade Zone.”

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JFK workers stole about $90K worth of electronics from cargo warehouse: DA


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Joe Mabel

A holiday weekend heist at John F. Kennedy Airport sprung a leak, according to authorities.

Two employees at an airport cargo warehouse were charged this week for allegedly pilfering nearly $90,000 worth of electronic devices, prosecutors announced Friday.

Cops busted Brooklyn residents Kason Alexander, 32, and Akanni Martin, 39, on May 23 in Brooklyn after officers spotted Alexander urinating on the sidewalk in the vicinity of East 57th Street and Avenue D.

When an officer approached Alexander and Martin as they entered a nearby parked car, the officer reportedly noticed two wooden crates in the rear seat.

Upon further investigation, the crates were found to contain 127 digital memory cards, 36 camera lenses, 52 Nikon cameras and 15 camera accessories. Additionally, officers found 100 Amazon Kindle tablets from another vehicle Alexander owned that was searched as part of the investigation.

Alexander and Martin were booked on second-degree charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and face up to 15 years behind bars if convicted, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“The two men were trusted employees at Kennedy Airport, but they are now accused of helping themselves to nearly $100,000 worth of electronic merchandise,” Brown said. “The defendants now face the prospect of being locked behind bars for this brazen act.”

The suspects were released without bail following arraignment on May 25 in Queens Criminal Court and ordered to return to court on July 13.

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Maspeth man with alleged mob ties charged in World Trade Center fraud scheme


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Durst Organization

Updated April 15, 10:10 a.m.

A reputed Maspeth mobster and silent partner at a construction company involved in the World Trade Center’s reconstruction was indicted Tuesday on federal money laundering charges and tax crimes, prosecutors announced.

Vincent Vertuccio, 60, reportedly controlled the Crimson Construction Corporation, which received an $11.4 million contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for its involvement in building the new One World Trade Center.

According to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, Vertuccio allegedly directed an employee not to disclose his involvement with the company in applying for the contract due to his “longstanding affiliation with” the Bonanno crime family.

Once the Port Authority awarded the contract to Crimson, Vertuccio received “significant sums” of a $1.5 million payment made to Crimson, authorities said. These funds were allegedly diverted to a bank account belonging to Vertuccio’s mother and were subsequently used to finance renovations to Vertuccio’s daughter’s home.

But the diversion of funds compromised Crimson’s involvement in the World Trade Center project and, as a result, the Port Authority terminated its contract.

Vertuccio’s accountant — Praful Pandya, 68, of Forest Hills — was additionally charged for allegedly submitting fraudulent tax returns in Vertuccio’s name to the IRS between 2008 and 2011.

Also charged in the indictment was Vertuccio’s lawyer, identified as John Servider, 53, of Patterson, N.Y. Servider is accused of presenting to a grand jury investigating Vertuccio falsified and doctored receipts and invoices from a Manhattan jewelry store.

“As alleged, Vertuccio and his team of criminal consultants —  including his accountant and his lawyer — cheated the taxpayers and the criminal justice system for their own corrupt purposes,” Lynch said. “We will not tolerate self-serving exploitations of Port Authority projects.”

All three defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

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First annual QNS Real Estate Conference features Port Authority director Patrick Foye


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Dominick Totino

It may have seemed like a cheap dig at the time, but Vice President Biden’s recent quip that LaGuardia Airport is fit for a Third World nation was on the money, said the man in charge of the city’s airports, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye.

Foye, the keynote speaker at the first QNS Real Estate Conference on Thursday, sponsored by The Queens Courier, conceded that the city’s oldest airport is in need of a major overhaul — and he pledged that the revamp will get done.

“Queens has been a gateway to the world for more than 100 years,” Foye told more than 350 real estate executives who turned out for the breakfast forum at Terrace on the Park. “The only way to keep that moniker is to update and improve the borough’s airports.”

“Vice President Biden made a comment, which sadly I happen to agree with in large part, which is, that parts of LaGuardia look like a Third World nation,” Foye said.

This statement was made about the central terminal building in LaGuardia Airport. In response, the Port Authority is currently looking to do a redesign of that building.

The current terminal is decades old and vastly outdated. A redesign is greatly needed, Foye pointed out, and the Port Authority is working on getting that built.

“The central terminal building has long outlived its usefulness,” Foye admitted. He continued by saying that the central terminal building was “built for a different generation of aircraft and for a far smaller number of passengers coming through on an annual basis.”

Another project the Port Authority is focusing on is the creation of a proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia, connecting the airport to the Willets Point station for the No. 7 subway and the nearby Long Island Rail Road station.

Foye believes that a public transportation option from Midtown Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport will help reduce congestion on roadways and generate revenue for the city. He went on to talk about the Port Authority’s Capital Plan that funds major transportation projects in both New York and New Jersey.

“Last year the Port Authority board approved a capital plan of $27.6 billion over 10 years. That includes $8 billion for our airports, and $5 billion alone for JFK and LaGuardia,” he said.

Foye said the capital funds will be instrumental in making important strides in improving Queens’ airports.

There will be major runway projects conducted at JFK, the construction of a new electric substation at LaGuardia along with the completion of new parking structures at the airports, he explained.

With Queens being named the top U.S. tourist destination by Lonely Planet, the Port Authority is committed to updating the area airports to better receive and service those travelers.

The event, co-hosted by The Queens Courier and the Real Estate Board of New York, was focused on the current real estate boom taking place in the borough.

Borough President Melinda Katz, who opened the morning conference, said Queens is “the hot and on-the-move borough when it comes to real estate in the city of New York.”

She went on to explain some of the borough’s top assets driving the new real estate boon, including museums, cultural diversity and what she believes is the “biggest asset,” the aviation industry.

In 2014, more than 80 million travelers came through both of Queens’ airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

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CB 5 committees pan Cross Harbor Tunnel plans


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Building a Cross Harbor Tunnel would shift the tri-state area’s traffic problems into Brooklyn and Queens, members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees declared during a meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

Panelists panned options in the Port Authority’s Cross Harbor Freight Program that call for a train tunnel or a combined train/truck tube through the harbor between rail yards in New Jersey and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The options include increased activity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge line and the connecting Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale — the only freight rail terminal linking geographic Long Island and the rest of the country.

Though the Port Authority claims the tunnel plans would help reduce tractor-trailer traffic on its existing Hudson River and harbor crossings, CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri charged, the proposal wouldn’t remedy congestion, but rather move it elsewhere in the city.

According to Arcuri, the tunnel plans included the creation or expansion of intermodal shipping facilities and warehouses near the Fresh Pond Rail Yard as well as Maspeth and East New York. At these sites, goods would be loaded and off-loaded between train cars and small trucks. Citing analysis performed by the Glendale-based Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), Arcuri said, the tunnels would effectively add hundreds of truck trips each day onto local streets.

“By taking the largest tractor-trailers off the road and putting [their cargo] on the trains, they’re adding thousands of smaller trucks to our area,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive argument against this current plan.”

John Maier, Public Transit Committee co-chair, echoed those sentiments, noting that much of the tunnel program’s concepts are based in “theory.” Municipal waste and construction and demolition debris from the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties make up the bulk of all local freight rail shipments. Other goods, he noted, are largely shipped by truck.

“The tunnel would do more to alleviate traffic outside of New York City than within it,” Maier said. “It’s not creating a lot of jobs because a lot of [shipping] is automated. It’s not a lot of yard jobs. It’s not a lot of anything, really. It would only reduce 6 percent of traffic on the Hudson River crossings while adding much more than 6 percent of traffic to East New York and Maspeth.”

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association stated that companies in the neighborhood’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) expressed similar concerns about a Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also pressed for easier shipping methods to reduce costs and travel time.

“There’s definitely demand,” she said. “It would save companies a lot of money to shave off a day of transit, either by rail or by barge.”

Local logistics also make a Cross Harbor Tunnel plan unfeasible, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. The plans indicate a tunnel would bring between 16 and 21 trains through the area each day — and current freight rail facilities are already overwhelmed with traffic.

“Right there, it’s physically impossible to pull that off unless the trains just rolled through at all hours of the day,” Giordano said.

Arcuri concluded that “the current plan is unacceptable” and that the board needed to present a resolution not only dismissing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also advocating for increased barge shipments and container float operations across the harbor. The chairperson said a resolution will be developed and considered at the committees’ next meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

Meanwhile, Queens residents will have the opportunity to speak out on the Cross Harbor program during a public hearing on Tuesday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

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Port Authority releases Tier 1 study of cross harbor freight program


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The Port Authority is looking for a better way to move freight through the New York metropolitan area including new proposals to boost rail traffic along a sleepy freight line through western Queens that could leave some homeowners shaking in their beds.

A new study, released at a Queens Borough Hall meeting on Jan. 12, outlined 10 different proposals for shipping rail freight across the harbor, from New Jersey to a rail line that stretches from the Brooklyn waterfront up to the Hellgate Bridge in Astoria. The line now carries an average of one freight train a day. If any of the proposals come to fruition, there would be many more — and larger — trains rolling down that track.

Among the hardest hit would be neighborhoods in the Glendale and Ridgewood area where the Fresh Pond train yard is located.

Proposals for a cross-harbor freight tunnel have been explored for almost a century. But the Port Authority, facing exploding growth of freight that is now moved through the city almost entirely by truck, needs another option to keep its bridges and tunnels from overflowing with truck traffic.

“We have to figure out a better way to move freight,” said Mark Hoffer, director of New Port Initiatives for the Port Authority. “We must analyze, study [the area] and come up with alternatives.”

Hoffer said that 90 percent of freight, nationally produced, comes in to the area by truck. By 2035, the Port Authority projected that over 300 million more tons of freight will have to come into the area. To meet that demand, the PA has come up with a range of options, from building a new tunnel to creating a water-borne shipping system that would carry rail cars across the harbor. Either proposal would boost freight rail through Brooklyn and Queens.

Currently, the closest rail crossing over the Hudson is in Selkirk, N.Y., about 150 miles north of the city. That means that the vast majority of freight shipped by rail from the west is unloaded in New Jersey and trucked across the river to New York City, Long Island, the northern suburbs and parts of New England.

“Using a rail option for this project would severely impact my district,” said Councilwomen Elizabeth Crowley, who covers the Glendale and Ridgewood area. She also said the noise pollution added by the influx of diesel-powered freight trains would hurt the quality of life of people in the area.

Hoffer did not deny the claim saying that it would affect some communities that are near the railway. But he was quick to say that the use of freight trains would be something that would benefit the area as a whole.

The Port Authority estimated that upgrading the rail system in the area, which could include building tunnels under water for freight to ship through, would cost anywhere from $7 to $11 billion and take about eight years to build. The waterborne options have been estimated to cost anywhere from $100 to $600 million and take two to four years to finish.

The next step for the Port Authority is to meet with local elected officials, community groups and other interested parties. They are also holding a public meeting to hear any concerns of residents in Queens on Jan. 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.

Following that their initial study, the Port Authority will be publishing a Record of Decision, which will list a group of alternatives they will take into their next, more detailed, study.

“The population is growing and we are going to be consuming more. We have to do something, the question is finding the right something,” Hoffer said. “We don’t have a realistic option in doing nothing.”

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Queens man arrested for stealing two Jetway motors at JFK


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Port Authority Police Department

Cambria Heights man working at John F. Kennedy International Airport allegedly stole two Jetway motors with the intention of selling them for scrap metal.

On Thursday at the airport’s Terminal 7, witnesses saw 30-year-old James Hicks-Johnson, who works for a de-icing company, place two Jetway motors into his company’s vehicle and then drive off, according to authorities.

Hicks-Johnson did not have any authorization to remove the engines, which were valued at $7,000 each and belonged to British Airways, according to Port Authority Police. When he returned to the terminal he was placed under arrest by Port Authority police officers.

When questioned Hicks-Johnson made statements suggesting that he intended to sell the property for scrap metal, authorities said.

He was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

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Man arrested for trespassing at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

jfk airport

Police busted a New Jersey man for trespassing after he was caught entering a restricted area of John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Port Authority employees saw William Deenem 22, of Perth Amboy, go inside a fenced area of the airport at about 9:30 a.m, cops said.

He was then placed under arrest by Port Authority police without incident. Deenem has been charged with criminal trespass.

There was no disruption in travel.

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Airline employee assaulted at LaGuardia Airport: police


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

LAGUARDIA

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 22-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night for assaulting an airline employee at LaGuardia Airport after getting into a confrontation at baggage claim, officials said.

Antonio V. Sappleton, a resident of Yonkers, tried to claim his bag when the United Airlines employee asked to see his checked bag ticket.

According to Port Authority Police, Sappleton refused to show the ticket and punched the victim repeatedly. When the victim fell to the floor, he continued his assault by kicking him.

The 23-year-old airline employee was taken to Elmhurst Hospital to be treated for loose teeth, a split lip and contusions about his head and face, authorities said.

Police arrested Sappleton outside of the terminal. He was given a desk appearance ticket and ordered to appear in court on Sept. 30 on charges of assault and harassment, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

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Gov. announces measures to address Queens plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will double its sound monitors and create an office to address soaring noise complaints, under a string of new orders announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County,” Cuomo said. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

Gripes have been pouring in since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern in 2012 that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“There have been days I felt so hopeless,” said Susan Carroll, of Flushing. “I get the takeoff. I get the landing. Flushing never gets a break from the airplane noise. We never get any peace.”

Carroll said she lodges so many complaints with the Port Authority’s hotline — at least one a day, since last summer — operators mistake her for an aviation expert.

“I actually cried tears of joy when I heard the news,” she said. “This is tremendous for all of us.”

Within the next few months, the Port Authority will implement a series of new measures that include monitoring flight tracks online, establishing regular roundtables with elected and federal officials, and conducting extensive noise studies.

More portable noise monitors will be placed in communities currently without one, the governor said. And the new noise office’s seven-member staff will collect and review data while responding to community complaints.

“We are committed to working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns, while bringing JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

 

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JFK baggage handlers accused of taking checks, money orders from mail


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Five John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) baggage handlers, including two Queens men, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of checks and money orders that were being sent through overseas mail, officials announced Friday.

The men are accused of taking the money orders and checks, which were bound for Japan, China, Korea, and other places, and depositing them into their own bank accounts. They also allegedly swiped credit cards and used them to buy iPad minis and other electronics from “Best Buy” kiosks at the airport, according to officials.

“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Following multiple reports of thefts of credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail, specifically mail being handled by Ground Services International baggage handlers at JFK, a joint investigation was launched by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, according to the district attorney.

The investigation found that between July and February, the five accused baggage handlers allegedly took the checks and money orders, which ranged from $100 to $1,000, and stole the credit cards and used them to make the kiosk purchases. The thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000, Brown said.

Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, and Brooklyn residents Michael Williams, 29, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, were arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on separate criminal complaints in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams is being held pending arraignment.

 

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Fire breaks out at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A fire at a John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport cargo building Tuesday night left more than a dozen people suffering from smoke inhalation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

The minor trash fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. on the cargo building’s loading bay of cargo building and was out in about 3o minutes, according to the FDNY and Port Authority.

Fourteen people were treated at the scene and four people were taken to the hospital, according to published reports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.

 

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NYC airports experience most delays during recent extreme weather


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The latest spell of extreme weather left thousands of delays and cancellations at airports across the country, but New York City area airports were hit particularly hard, according to an analysis by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA).

From Saturday, Jan. 4 to Tuesday, Jan. 7, John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia and Newark airports had the most delays at 5,320 and second most cancellations at 2,155. The most cancellations at the city’s airports occurred on Monday, with 706, and the most delays were on Sunday, with 1,692.

Chicago’s two major airport hubs suffered from the most cancellations at 4,655 and the second most delays at 3,134.

More than 50 percent of all flights were cancelled or delayed during the four-day period at both New York area and Chicago airports, according to GGA.

JetBlue suspended outgoing flights at, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston’s Logan airports to catch up with weather-related delays and cancellations Monday. The airline started gradually operating again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but wasn’t 100 percent operational until about 3 p.m. that day

“The rampant cancellations and delays we saw this week are a wake-up call for leadership to  start focusing on better airports, and they underscore why Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s announcement  that he is taking responsibility for NYC airport modernization is so timely” said Joe Sitt, Chairman and founder of GGA. “Bad weather that causes serious disruptions in air traffic is going to happen, but it shouldn’t continually wreak havoc. Travelers should expect everyone involved in the industry to create a modern, safe and efficient aviation system, and should hold our leaders accountable for delivering.”

In Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday he said LaGuardia is ranked as the worst airport in America.

“That is a disgrace my friends and it is unacceptable and it is going to change,” he said.

The state, he said, would assume management responsibility from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for construction at JFK and LaGuardia airports to modernize them.

The GGA is specifically calling for faster implementation of NextGen, particularly at NYC airports and other hubs; better customer service contingency planning; modernized airport terminals; and remaining focused on safety.

 

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Cuomo talks economic successes, medical marijuana in State of State


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead for legalizing medical marijuana, while promoting tax relief measures and touting New York’s economic successes, in his last State of the State address before running for re-election.

“In three years, [we] have reversed decades of decline,” the governor said, referring to the state’s transformation from a $10 billion deficit to the $2 billion surplus during that period.

By spending less, the state can now tax less, Cuomo said, and will do so through a $2 billion package of tax relief proposals.

A renter’s tax credit would offer a refundable personal income tax credit to those who make under $100,000.
Cuomo proposed a reform to the estate tax, which, like the federal government would exempt the first $5.25 million of a person’s estate, instead of estates valued below $1 million, as the state does now.

Additional measures would provide relief on property and business taxes, and help simplify the tax code.

As anticipated, Cuomo called for a program that would research the feasibility of medical marijuana in New York.

He will use existing statutory authority, enacting an old law which established the Antonio G. Olivieri controlled substances therapeutic research program, to launch a pilot medical marijuana research program that allows up to 20 hospitals to provide medical marijuana to patients being treated for serious illnesses.

Focusing specifically on the New York City region, Cuomo said the borough’s airports were in need of care, particularly LaGuardia, which he said was ranked as the worst airport in the country.

Cuomo proposed modernizing LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports, by having the state assume management responsibility from The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

The governor also stressed the importance of education investments in his address, particularly in technology in the classroom and universal, full-day pre-k.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for universal, full-day pre-k in the city, which would be funded by taxing the rich.

“I think it was very promising that the governor laid it out as a goal for the whole state,” the mayor, who attended the address, said in a press conference afterwards.

When asked if there was a conflict between his proposed tax raises and Cuomo’s tax relief package, de Blasio said that the state and the city each has its “own vision” when it comes to taxes.

Cuomo, despite critics who disagree with him for the need for ethics reform, promised to continue fighting political corruption.

“There has been a string of bad acts on almost a daily basis,” he said, proposing new anti-bribery and corruption laws.

“I believe the more trust we have from the public, the more we can do.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Snow likely. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. 3 to 5 inches of snow expected.
Tuesday Night: Clear skies. Low 21F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Re-Gift of the Magi 

This comedic play reveals why the Wise Men made their perilous journey. Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar give Joshua an education in the shul of real life. Shows run until Dec. 21.at The Chain Theatre in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

‘Snow Alert’ issued for New York City

New York City’s sanitation department has issued a “snow alert” starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Read more: ABC New York

Whitestone family wins ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ on ABC

The brightest house in Queens outshone three others in the country Monday night. Read more: The Queens Courier

Port Authority: 5 planes struck by snowy owls in tri-state area

The Port Authority has said they are working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation in order to relocate snowy owls after it was revealed that the agency had shot and killed some of the birds. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Audit: State DOT lacks records on railroad bridge inspections

An audit targeting the safety of New York state’s railroad bridges has turned up some startling information. Read more: CBS New York/AP

World leaders, South Africans honor Mandela

World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans honored Nelson Mandela on Tuesday at a Soweto soccer stadium that was two-thirds full amid cold, driving rain. Read more: AP