Mayor Bloomberg Slams Results of Port Authority Audit, Says WTC Memorial is Worth the Cost

Mayor Bloomberg has slammed the results of an audit that called the Port Authority "a challenged and dysfunctional organization" with "ineffective cost controls," saying that the cost of the World Trade Center memorial is worth it for the sake of New York's reputation.

"Can you imagine? If America couldn't have come up with a memorial by the 10th anniversary, I would suggest that the press would have had a field day. It would have been an embarrassment around the world," Bloomberg told DNAinfo.

Bloomberg cited several factors which have contributed to the high cost of building the World Trade Center memorial, including bureaucratic struggles over permits and land ownership, the architectural problems caused by subway lines that run near the site, and the loaded political significance of the project.

"The bottom line is the whole site is perhaps the most complex construction project in the history of the world -- legally, politically, engineering-wise," he said.

Still, it's hard to ignore the multiple setbacks the project has endured. Just recently, constriction on a museum next to the memorial site was halted as the memorial foundation and the Port Authority fight over who is responsible for paying for the work. It's unlikely that the museum will be able to open in time for the 11th anniversary of the attacks at the end of this year.

As mayor, Blooomberg has little direct oversight over the Port Authority -- that control lies with the governors of New York and New Jersey (Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, respectively). Those two men were responsible for ordering the audit, and released a joint statement earlier this week saying that "wide-ranging reform is long overdue" at the PA. This comes after the Port Authority decided to double its fares over a five-year period, angering many inter-state commuters.


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Brendan A. MacWade
Brendan A. MacWade

Since the Mayor has no direct oversight, we'll have to accept his snippy remarks as just his opinion. But consider the gist of what he is saying. He's affirming that we had to rebuild the WTC, with tens of thousands of additional square footage and a museum, no matter the cost. Hey, it's NY and NJ taxpayers who are going to be paying for this through the middle of the 21st Century. Easy for him to say it's no biggie.

No one wants to say publicly that that WTC site should have simply been a memorial park. We  were all drunk on hubris and pride to rebuild. Bigger, taller, grander. Eff you terrorists! But to do so without strict oversight of the costs? To see the WTC now cost more than the arguably necessary and more functional Route 93 renovation project in Boston ("The Big Dig," which by the way, was more complex and cost a comparatively cheap $18 Billion) is inexcusable. 

The new WTC might never see vacancy under 30 percent, and the cost might surpass $30 Billion. Chew on that folks. The politicians can sleep at night knowing that you are paying for it.

Bernie Goetz
Bernie Goetz

Everyone is in denial. Nobody mentions the WTC site plans are impractical. Everyone (Pataki, Bloomberg, the NY Times editorial board) who supported the ridiculous Libeskind plan is responsible for the developing fiasco. Donald Trump should have been put in charge of the LMDC at the beginning. The media doesn't understand the site; only 2 months ago many NY media were touting "Chris Ward for Mayor!". This stupidity will permanently negatively impact the entire region and the phrase "the PA is the engine for economic growth" is just hot air. The talk about “reform” means little:  Will there be significant cost cutbacks at the WTC site?  Will the toll increases be rescinded?  The PA annual payroll is $759 million.  How much can this be reduced?   Maybe $50 million?   Thats insignificant compared to what has been and will be squandered by the bad plans at the WTC site. 

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