Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 memorial an expensive embarrassment

From Huffington Post:

With its huge reflecting pools, ringed by waterfalls and skyscrapers, and a cavernous underground museum still under construction, the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center is an awesome spectacle that moved and inspired some 4.5 million visitors in its first year.

But all that eye-welling magnificence comes with a jaw-dropping price tag. The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the roughly $700 million project is complete, the memorial and museum will together cost $60 million a year to operate.

The anticipated cost has bothered some critics and raised concerns even among the memorial's allies that the budget may be unsustainable without a hefty government subsidy.

By comparison, the National Park Service budgeted $8.4 million this year to operate and maintain Gettysburg National Military Park and $3.6 million for the monument that includes the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Running Arlington National Cemetery, which has more than 14,000 graves and receives 4 million visitors a year, costs $45 million annually.

Officials at the 9/11 memorial say they face unique challenges that make comparisons to other national memorials difficult.

Foundation officials didn't respond to requests for information about other costs at the site, including the anticipated expense of running the museum, which is still unfinished and might not be anytime soon.

There was also a very expensive pissing contest happening amongst our fearless leaders over this. They supposedly finally resolved it last night. Makes you proud to be a New Yorker, doesn't it?

As for the WTC itself, here's what's being pushed to the side for it. From the Wall Street Journal:

The $7.7 billion that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has committed over more than a decade to remake the 16-acre site has meant that long-planned repairs and expansions at its other properties, especially at the area's three major airports, have been put on hold or scrapped altogether.

The effect has become increasingly visible. When it rains, trash cans collect drips inside the central terminal at La Guardia Airport, which was supposed to be in line for a substantial upgrade before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks upended the agency's plans.

Newark International Airport's shabby Terminal A, which also had been eyed for a redo for years, frequently elicits traveler complaints. Buses clog Manhattan's West Side; the Port Authority had committed money to building a garage where they could idle between trips but postponed the plan after World Trade Center rebuilding costs grew. A proposal to replace the Goethals Bridge has faced delay after delay, though a plan to find a private contractor has been inching forward recently.

If not for the cost of rebuilding in Lower Manhattan, "they would be working on the terminal at La Guardia, I think they would be working on Terminal A at Newark," said Robert Boyle, the Port Authority's executive director from 1997 to 2001. "They definitely would already be doing the Goethals."


Anonymous said...

Rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

There is alot to be said about the Port Authority that is so wrong. NYS should separate from New Jersey in jointly running this $$wasteful entity. NYS cannot run itself yet alone pay for all of NJ projects like Liberty Airport which is now #1 in the nation at the expense of JFK or LGA which resemble ancient Soviet era facilities. New Jersey now has world class ports with all the jobs there verses our crumbling piers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Even cruise ships are porting in New Jersey! We have the Port Authority Bus terminal at 42st - the crime ridden place that no one ventures near - get rid of it! Finally the Port Authority is responsible for the biggest wasteful project - the rebuilding of the world trade center - what a disaster! 10 years later the memorial is not completed and costs an arm and a leg. Gov Coumo detach the taxpayers from supporting the PA already!

georgetheatheist said...

Too many cooks spoil the broth.

EW3 said...

GTA - shouldn't that be

"Too many crooks spoil the broth"


Anonymous said...

Do the math: for $60 million/year, that's $164,000 per day, and if there are 10 hours of operation each day, $16,400 per hour. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace?

Sometimes I think that the memorial has spawned a damn cottage industry
feeding off of pseudo sentimental mourning.

Tourists come to gawk slurping ice cream cones...
like it was Coney Island.

"Come buy your WTC souvenirs here".


We are getting very far away from what this site actually represents.

Anonymous said...

Terminals 5 and 8 at JFK are brand new (relatively speaking) and are a credit to Jetblue and American, and are some of the nicest terminals I've seen in the country.