Vice President Joe Biden delivered some harsh words about New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Thursday. Our Michael Herzenberg reports.
Vice President Joe Biden had some harsh words for LaGuardia Airport Thursday.
Biden was speaking in Philadelphia where he stressed the need for infrastructure improvement.
He said that the U.S. has fallen 20 spots in the quality of infrastructure, and that Hong Kong's Airport has the type of modern facilities that travelers would expect to see in the United States.
"If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 o'clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said, 'Where do you think you are?', they'd say, 'This must be America. It's a modern airport,'" Biden said. "If I took you and blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, 'I must be in some Third World country.' I'm not joking."
Many passengers waiting on luggage at LaGuardia said that the conditions are a joke and that Biden conveyed their feelings perfectly.
"You just feel like you're in the grungy subway of New York," said one person.
"Well, it is kind of antiquated," said another.
"It's hard to orient. It's hard to know where to go," said a third. "There isn't very good signage."
To be fair, there are signs abound, and there are some modern amenities. Some fly in satisfied.
"Well, I just came from a Third World country, and I don't know that that's necessarily true, Joe," said one person.
In response to the vice president, the Port Authority released a statement that read, "We are fast-tracking efforts that have lagged for more than a decade and investing $3.6 billion through an innovative public-private partnership to build a new Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport that will provide passengers with a world-class terminal."
Just last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he wants to assume responsibility for construction.
"LaGuardia Airport is ranked as the worst airport in America, believe it or not," Cuomo said. "That is a disgrace, my friends."
LaGuardia Airport is a gateway to New York that 25 million people passed through in 2012.
A nonprofit that advocates for airport improvements in the metro area said that LaGuardia is one of the most delayed airports in the country, but the problem is bigger than that.
"The entire system in New York needs next gen, which is the air traffic control system, a satellite-based air traffic control system, to replace the 40-year-old radar system," said Steve Sigmund, executive director of the Global Gateway Alliance.
Sigmund said that the federal government needs to contribute to that, because the next generation system is a $40 billion expense, so the ball goes back to Biden.