Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 158

It looks like the Port Authority and the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum have come to an agreement on construction costs. Payments will begin going out to subcontractors starting today, but the deal still requires finalization and approval by the Port Authority's Board.
The subcontractors were caught in the middle of a dispute between the Port, which owns the World Trade Center site, and museum officials over who is responsible for $150 million in costs on the project. They have been negotiating with the Port Authority, because it signed their contracts.

Representatives from the Port and the museum didn't return calls for comment.

Sources said the two are close to working out an agreement, and that Port officials may have a deal to report to its board by its meeting next Thursday. However, the two sides have been saying for weeks that a settlement was within reach.

Mr. Berger said subcontractors are owed a total of $50 million. However, the majority of that stems from work that was changed from the original tasks, making billing a longer process.
The downside is that the delays pushed completion of the museum to June or July 2013.

Subcontractors have been screwed through this whole process since they're at the whims of the Port Authority, which is overseeing the construction.

This deal would seem to end what was a dispute that ranged more than $440 million between what the Port Authority claimed it was owed and what the Museum Foundation says it was owed.

Yet, even if the museum construction is completed next year, funding for maintaining its operation has yet to materialize and Congressional Republicans, led by Tom Coburn, has shown an unwillingness to fund the memorial/museum operations. Funding should be made available for the National 9/11 memorial. This is the site of the nation's worst terrorist attacks.

Coburn can qualify his comments any way he wants, but the bottom line is that he's blocking funding for the the memorial and museum funding.

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