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Old Posted Feb 9, 2012, 5:08 PM
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Ground zero money sump

February 8, 2012

Quote:
If nothing else, Tuesday’s Port Authority audit focused a fresh spotlight on the enormous construction costs attending preparation work for some of the elaborate projects intended for the World Trade Center site. Most of those projects are defensible (even if their price tags are not).

A conspicuous exception is the planned performing arts center — an unaffordable, redundant impediment to timely completion of the overall project. And when you fully digest the numbers — and consider how wholly unnecessary the center is — you come to one inevitable conclusion: It needs to be scrapped, pronto.

Start with the PA report: It cited some $200 million in costs for work being done to facilitate construction of the center. Two things:

* That money would be better spent on pressing PA needs — fixing crumbling bridges and tunnels, for instance.

* History suggests the center will never pay its own way — becoming, rather, a black hole for city and other public funds.

The PA hopes to be repaid for that work . . . one day, presumably by the arts center — though who knows if it will even be built, let alone fork over any funds. Keep in mind, this is a project that — more than 10 years after 9/11 — still exists mainly in the minds of its proponents. It was only six weeks ago that a board for the center was formed — and its backers have yet to create a nonprofit entity to run it.

What will the center consist of? That’s anyone’s guess; there’s no final design in place. Which is also why no one knows its final price tag — which likely means even more upward pressure on tolls, given that the cost for the nearby National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum is now pushing a breath-taking $1 billion.
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