Mayor on Memorial: Cascading Water by 2011; Port Should Eat Overruns

Here’s Mayor Bloomberg on his Friday morning radio show with John Gambling on the World Trade Center and the Port Authority’s commitment to open the memorial by Sept. 11, 2011:

We all agree that the critical thing is that we have to have on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the Memorial built with people being able to get to it–the platform, the water cascading down, the trees, the names. The museum underground can take a little bit longer and it will just because of the complexity of the problem. … The governor and I have both said to [Port Authority executive director Chris Ward] we want the Port to guarantee any cost overruns over that, because otherwise you don’t have any confidence they will, but you have to give them an economic incentive.

The museum will indeed take considerably longer–earlier studies by the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center found it may not be ready to open until perhaps 2015–as will the complex PATH hub that interconnects with the memorial. Yesterday, the city and the memorial foundation generally agreed on a Port Authority design for the PATH hub that pledges to allow the memorial to be opened by 2011.

That the mayor wants the Port Authority to eat all the overruns is significant, as such overruns are likely to be substantial, certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. The Port Authority has resisted a less costly, simpler design for the PATH hub as the agency tried to preserve the iconic architecture underground for the station.

The mayor, governor and memorial foundation have been pushing very hard for the memorial to open by the symbolic date of 9/11/11. Should the Port Authority be able to meet that deadline, however, the surrounding area will be a large construction site. Greenwich Street, to the east, will be one of the last components to be completed at the site; the northern border will be an unfinished Freedom Tower; the eastern border, a reconstructed Route 9A, will not be finished; and construction will be going on below-grade as the museum and PATH hub are being built.

Mayor on Memorial: Cascading Water by 2011; Port Should Eat Overruns