Memorial Won't Be Ready For 9/11 Anniversary

The Sept. 11 memorial won't be ready in time for the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced in a report Monday. Also delayed, several other projects planned for the site in Lower Manhattan.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

According to a new report, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center will take longer and cost more than planned. Those are findings from a candid reassessment by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The Port Authority also said that the National September 11 Memorial & Museum would not be completed in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

NPR's Margot Adler has the story.

MARGOT ADLER: Speaking to a public meeting of the Port Authority, Christopher Ward, the new executive director, puts the situation facing the World Trade Center site bluntly.

CHRISTOPHER WARD: While significant progress has been made, the schedule and cost estimates of the rebuilding effort that have been communicated to the public are not realistic.

ADLER: As they tried to estimate the costs and timing of the project, he said, they realized 15 key decisions had not yet been made. He gave this example among many.

WARD: The final design of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub has not been completed. As a result, it's impossible to predict completion dates or cost with accuracy.

ADLER: There are still land rights issues to negotiate with the owners of a Greek Orthodox Church destroyed in the attack. And the Deutsche Bank Building badly damaged on 9/11 requires an additional $37 million to demolish it.

Remember, this is a project that will create five major skyscrapers, the third largest transportation hub in New York City, a huge memorial museum, a state- of-the-art vehicle security center, a performing arts center, a retail venue and more. Then think about this, he said, 101 contractors and subcontractors, 33 design firms, 19 public agencies.

WARD: Arguably, the most complex project built in this nation.

ADLER: Most of the cost estimates were made before construction started, and prices for fuel and steel have gone up greatly. This new assessment was ordered on June 11th by New York governor David Patterson who appointed Chris Ward as executive director of the Port Authority, and at his own news conference today, said he wanted the report...

DAVID PATERSON: Tell the truth about the cost assessments and the schedules of that project, the truth - no spins, no phony optimism and certainly no gloss.

ADLER: Paterson said he wants the stakeholders to report back in 90 days so he can hold them accountable and the public can hold him accountable. Until then, he said, there would be no estimates and no timelines.

PATERSON: We're not going to give any phony dates or timetables at this point and then follow it up with phony ribbon-cuttings or encouraging words and no follow-up. We are, instead, going to change the culture of the way the management of this project is working.

ADLER: Ward and Paterson said there is no process or authority in place to resolve competing claims and that the governance of the project had to be streamlined.

There have been estimates in the press that the cost of the project could rise as much as $3 billion, but both Paterson and Ward were clear that giving numbers was premature and that some projects could be downsized. As to the 9/11 memorial and museum...

WARD: The memorial will not be fully completed and available for the public in 2011.

ADLER: Still, Ward emphasized that 18 months ago, there was nothing happening at the site which is now bustling with hundreds of construction workers.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.