New York City’s La Guardia Airport, whose dilapidated terminals and long, unenviable record of traveler delays have made it a target of jokes and complaints for decades, will be completely rebuilt by 2021, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport in northern Queens, estimates the overhaul will cost about $4 billion, most of which will go toward tearing down the Central Terminal Building, rebuilding it in place and augmenting it with a grand entry way.
The project “replaces the airport in its entirety,” Mr. Cuomo said at a Midtown Manhattan luncheon for the Association for a Better New York. He said that airport officials and planners had concluded that there was no way to fix La Guardia, that it essentially had to be torn down and rebuilt.
The big thought was to create an aesthetically pleasing, unified airport in place of the collection of disconnected terminals, decades old, that form the airport, said Daniel R. Tishman, a developer appointed by Mr. Cuomo to lead a committee to create a master plan for La Guardia.
The plan went beyond aesthetics: The airport buildings would be moved south, closer to the parkway. The move would allow the creation of roughly two miles of new taxiways that officials said would help alleviate the airport’s chronic delays.
Travelers would also have better options to get to La Guardia; Mr. Cuomo said the plan called for a rail link between the airport and a subway station in the Willets Point section of Queens, as well as re-establishing ferry service to the airport.
Daniel R. Tishman, a developer appointed by Mr. Cuomo to lead a committee to create a master plan for La Guardia, said “This is a huge deal for New York City and for the country. To be the greatest city in the world, you have to have the greatest infrastructure in the world.”
He said he took it personally when, in February 2014, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden likened La Guardia to something a traveler might find “in a third world country.”