The Port Authority has just released the preliminary findings of its agency-wide review, the biggest, if least surprising, news of which is that the cost of redeveloping the World Trade Center continues to sky rocket. The price has risen from the $11 billion estimated in 2008 to a current estimate of $14.8 billion. That is almost twice as expensive as the project was initially expected to cost when first announced in 2006, with a price tag of $8 billion.
The Port is now dead set on containing costs to ensure no further increases. “Given that enormous burden, we are committed to taking the steps necessary to mitigate the Port Authority’s exposure at the World Trade Center site,” the special committee preparing the report write to governors Christie and Cuomo in January 31 letter.
The Port is currently holding a conference call to discuss the findings, so check back for further details.
Update: The Port Authority is now on the hook for $7.7 billion, up from $6 billion three years ago. The report blames prior leadership for much of these gains.
Meanwhile, Port officials insist it was worth rebuilding, even as they criticize the cost of doing so.
“These costs were inevitable once the decision was made in 2008 that we were going to be open for the 10th anniversary,” board vice-chair Scott Rechler told reporters. “A lot of those costs were recognized in 2008; some of those costs were not recognized until later. Some incurred for work to third parties.” Mr. Rechler, principal at RXR Realty, was one of four members on the special committee responsible for the report.
Pat Foye, the Port Authority’s executive director, reiterated the importance of building. “Opening the memorial on the 10th anniversary was an important national objective,” he said.
The committee is now undertaking a second phase review to look for ways to break down silos and reorganize the agency to save money and increase efficiency. Current estimates include a possible $1 billion more in liabilities to the Port if costs cannot be controlled on the site.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the original price of the project as $10 billion, not $8 billion.