Mon Nov 26, 2012, 12:41 PM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
The colossal mess that is the World Trade Center
The Port Authority’s Cloudy Future
The transportation agency has mortgaged itself to the hilt to rebuild the World Trade Center, leaving few resources for its real mission.
By Nicole Gelinas
New Yorkers have watched One World Trade Center gradually define the downtown skyline. The massive glass-and-steel building should reach its full height and be ready for tenants within 18 months. But to those tenants, One World Trade may come to symbolize not victory over terror but rather their own miserable commutes. Most of the white-collar workers who will stream into the tower depend on subways, buses, tunnels, and bridges to get to Manhattan. And over the past decade, the government agency in charge of much of the region’s transportation—the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey —has neglected that core responsibility in favor of rebuilding lower Manhattan.
The good news is that the World Trade Center project (technically, the first big phase of a larger, two-phase plan) is closer to completion than to commencement. Over the past three years, not only has the $3.9 billion One World Trade Center (known in the planning stages as the Freedom Tower) risen ever higher; other projects have taken shape downtown as well, including a $3.7 billion train hub, a vehicle security center to receive the trucks that will serve the new office towers, and a remade streetscape. Even a long-running dispute over who will run the 9/11 memorial and museum at the site has been solved.
Unfortunately, the Port Authority has barely begun to pay for all this rebuilding. Its share of the bill comes to $7.7 billion, which it has borrowed. And to repay that massive debt, the agency will have to divert toll revenue from bridges and tunnels and fee revenue from airports—money that won’t be available for the transportation projects that New York badly needs.
In the early twentieth century, editorialists, public officials, and good-government advocates fretted that New York’s port, facing competition from as far away as New Orleans, wasn’t reaching its potential. The chief culprit: bickering between New York and New Jersey. New York had the piers to receive ships, and New Jersey had the railways to move the ships’ cargo, but the two sides could never agree about how to invest in port assets. In early 1920, New York governor Al Smith urged lawmakers to do something. “Port development is critical,” he said. “It affects the cost of living; it affects the cost of doing business.” The New York Times agreed, arguing that “the port is a national interest, and it is economically wicked to divide it between New York and New Jersey.”
4 replies, 1204 views
The colossal mess that is the World Trade Center (Original post)
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Mon Nov 26, 2012, 12:50 PM
midnight (25,982 posts)
1. I had not heard much about the people who are interfacing with this building project.... Wanted
to read whole article but link not working for me.... Not sure if anyone else is able to open link, but thought I would let you know..
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #2)
Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:42 PM
midnight (25,982 posts)
3. This is a great read. Talk about a never ending tour of how the infrastructure of transportation
was side lined for other projects that the port authorities somehow became entwined into.... A complete lose of job responsibilities that seem to have cost both New York and New Jersey adequate bridges, trains, and world class transportation that they clearly seem to have already paid for....