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."