Could Rikers Island spell relief for busy LaGuardia Airport?

FILE- This June 20, 2014, file photo, shows Rikers Island, New York's biggest lockup. A growing advocacy movement is gearing up to pressure New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to spend considerable capital to shut down the scandal-scarred jail complex, which they argue is too broken to reform. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Travelers stuck in endless delays at New York City’s congested LaGuardia Airport can feel like prisoners. Now there’s a plan to liberate them by closing the city’s most notorious jail.

A commission that helped persuade city officials to eventually close New York’s violent jail complex on Rikers Island noted that the 400 acres could be redeveloped as a new runway and terminal extension for nearby LaGuardia.

That idea is being met positively by some who say it would help improve air service and increase capacity at an aging airport that is among the most ridiculed in America.

But skeptics scoff at the $22 billion estimated cost of the Rikers plan. They say it would increase noise over nearby neighborhoods and wouldn’t solve the bigger problem of New York’s congested airspace.

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