Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 121

This has been something that has been bugging me for more than a year. Since the federal government enacted the ARRA of 2009 (the federal stimulus package), I've been saying that funds set aside by that package should be used to help expedite and complete the Ground Zero reconstruction.

It now appears that Silverstein Properties has recognized the funding source and may be applying for $200 million in Recovery Zone bonds to help finance 3 WTC. The New York region was entitled to $550 million in Recovery Zone bonds, but those bonds may go unused before they expire.

The bonding would be a lower interest rate than bonding and financing obtained elsewhere, which can further reduce the construction and repayment costs at Ground Zero.

At the same time, one has to wonder why the Recovery Zone bonds haven't been utilized in the ARC Tunnel/7 Line extension debate as a way to further the construction efforts at a time when infrastructure spending is considered a top priority by the Obama Administration. It would have come in handy to complete a mid-stop on the 7 Line extension to 34th Street at 11th Avenue, but yet the City and MTA didn't seek use of those funds.

Meanwhile, the NY Post is reporting on a rather old story - that the Port Authority is spending $600 million in upgrading the security on its PATH tunnels under the Hudson River. The Port Authority approved the upgrades several years ago and the purpose is to make the tunnels less likely to flood in a terror attack or natural disaster. It was spurred by the experience after 9/11 when the WTC tubes were flooded for months after the collapsing towers severed major water mains and severely damaged the tunnel infrastructure and then by thwarted terror plots targeting the PATH system. The upgrades include flood prevention doors and bomb proofing the tunnel lining, which are sensible steps considering the fact that the PATH system has been repeatedly targeted by al Qaeda.

On a happier note, it appears that the construction workers on 1WTC (Freedom Tower) have installed Christmas colored lights on some of the lower floors. Green and red tinted lights now mark some of the lower floors after dark.

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