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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.