Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 164

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be visiting the World Trade Center site this afternoon to view progress at the site as part of a trip to New York City that includes two fundraisers for the 2012 campaign.

The trip will disrupt the commutes of tens of thousands of people who use the PATH station at the WTC (myself included), but the President needs to do more than just view the progress all while meeting with steel workers and the governors of New York and New Jersey along with Port Authority officials and Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He needs to get the Port Authority to quit its inane demands on the WTC Memorial Foundation and push ahead with completing its work on the museum and PATH Transit Hub, both of which are years behind schedule. The Museum opening keeps getting pushed back with each passing day and the earliest it may open is towards the 3rd quarter of 2013. It was supposed to be open this September.
Ferreting out who wants what has been harder than cracking the National Security Agency. Eventually, we sifted the misinformation to discover that the PA, which controls the Ground Zero site and is building the museum for the foundation, is behaving very, very badly.

Samson and Foye must, first, get through their heads that they are cutting a deal with a nonprofit foundation set up to construct proper 9/11 remembrances and not with, say, the developer of a retail mall.

Banished from the talks must be thought of asking the foundation for a percentage of revenues from museum admissions or gift shop sales. The concept is so preposterous as to defy belief that anyone could have raised it seriously — instead of as a throwaway bargaining tactic. Get rid of it.

Also to be dropped is any idea that the Port Authority will muscle out the foundation to take greater command of the memorial and museum. The PA must keep hands off.

It is a political agency that has no business presiding over sensitive issues such as how aspects of the 9/11 story will be told. Just as bad, the authority would succumb to the temptation to open the property to speechifying by elected officials.
The Port Authority, which operates at the behest of Governors Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), has been fighting with the memorial foundation, which is headed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, over costs and the work has groaned to a standstill for months.

While 1WTC (Freedom Tower) and 4WTC continue rising skywards, and the Fiterman Hall project nears completion, the Port Authority's work on the transit hub, vehicle security center, and the museum are crawling along as costs pile up.

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