Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 134

Santiago Calatrava's PATH Transit Hub
Just about six weeks ago, the cost of the WTC transit hub was expected to run about $3.4 billion. Now, there are reports it's going to cost $3.8 billion, and that would make it the most expensive component of the rebuilding efforts at Ground Zero, exceeding those of even the Freedom Tower (1WTC) or the WTC memorial and museum. Just a few years ago, the cost was not expected to be more than $2.2 billion and efforts were undertaken to reduce the costs.
The final price is expected to climb to $3.8 billion — $400 million over its current budget and 70 percent more than initial estimates, according to documents obtained by The Record.

The latest projected increase is laid out in a report written by a federal monitor shortly after Port Authority officials increased the project's budget from $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion in late February.

The report warns that — even after the controversial February increase — the "budget still does not appear adequate for the ultimate completion of the project." It adds: "Recent discussions with the Port Authority" indicate a $3.8 billion final price tag. The 2005 budget for the project was $2.2 billion.

The hub, which will serve as a gateway to Manhattan for tens of thousands of New Jersey commuters each day, is also facing a three-month delay, with completion now expected in March 2015, the report states.

Officials at the Port Authority, the bi-state agency in charge of the federally funded project, brushed aside the estimate.

"We remain confident in our budget" of $3.4 billion, spokesman John Kelly said.

And an official at the Federal Transit Administration, which is paying a majority of the hub expenses, stressed that the authority could still hit its current spending target if it manages the project properly.

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the hub will house a new PATH station and connect to 13 subway lines.
The Port Authority is under tremendous financial strain, and the new projected price tag means that the Port Authority will have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars in increased funds - which means that fares and tolls may have to increase to cover the costs of rebuilding at Ground Zero.

Once built, the PATH hub will connect with the oft-delayed Fulton Street Transit Hub and connect 13 subway lines using an underground passage underneath Dey Street. The Fulton Street hub project is finally proceeding with steel installation of its signature element - an above-ground oculus that allows light to enter into the deeper recesses of the massive tangle of station platforms and connecting pathways.

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