Back to Normal at Ground Zero: Infighting and Delays Returns

At least they'll open 1 WTC on time... right? (Getty)

It was full-speed ahead to get the 9/11 Memorial open on time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York. In the run up, one Port insider told The Observer he would not be surprised if things began to slip thereafter. “Once the memorial is open, no one will really notice if Tower 1 opens at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014,” the source said. That reality already appears to be coming true, as The Journal reports that the museum portion of the 9/11 Memorial has already begun to fall behind schedule.

According to The Journal, no contracts have been signed off on since September, but the real problem, as has so often been the case at ground zero, appears to be political:

The fight puts the Port Authority—controlled jointly by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—at odds with the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum foundation.

Fueling the battle is $156 million that the Port Authority—which is building the museum—says the foundation owes for construction costs. Port Authority officials have said privately they are concerned about the museum having enough money to finish the job, people familiar with the dispute said. [snip]

The overruns at the museum have been in dispute for months, but those and other problems were left unresolved until now, in part because officials wanted to avoid a public fight before the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, people familiar with the discussions said.

The city and the Port Authority also have recently been fighting over who will pay for up to $300 million in security costs related to the site, people familiar with the discussions said.

It’s good to know that after a brief respite, the in-fighting is back at the World Trade Center site. God forbid the bonhomie of the past year should persist and things would actually get built on time. No wonder memorial attendance is down. What a pleasant place to be.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

Back to Normal at Ground Zero: Infighting and Delays Returns