New York officials, concerned that President Bush had been slow to make good on his pledge to provide $20 billion in post-Sept. 11 federal aid to the city, have some encouraging news. On March 7, Bush said he would ask Congress for an additional $5.5 billion for New York. Two days later, he signed an economic stimulus bill that contains $5 billion in tax breaks over the next decade. Including $10.7 billion already approved by Washington, the new pledges would bring New York's total assistance to $21.2 billion.
"It is essential that New York City come back and come back strong, for the good of the entire nation," Bush said. The announcements, coinciding with the March 11 six-month anniversary of the attacks, brought some relief to New York officials under pressure to move forward on redevelopment of lower Manhattan. At a joint press briefing, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) and New York Gov. George Pataki (R) noted the fast pace of Ground Zero cleanup, with 83% of debris removed and costs "dramatically less" than the original $1.2 billion estimate. "The exciting thing about this proposal is that it...does not simply replace what was destroyed, much of which was obsolete," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
|NEW LOOK Boost from Washington will cover $3 billion in lower manhattan work. (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)|
The $5.5 billion, to be included in a broader supplemental appropriations request expected from Bush soon, includes $1.8 billion for an intermodal transit station to link the PATH system with 13 subway lines in lower Manhattan. The $3-billion project is expected to include a $400-million replacement of the 100-year-old South Ferry station on the damaged 1 and 9 subway line. "No new subway has been built in lower Manhattan since the 1930s," said Bloomberg.
Also included is $2.75 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency money to reimburse the city and state for overtime pay, environmental cleanup, and other expenses; $167 million to repair roads in the WTC area; and $750 million in Community Development Block Grants to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to reconstruct telecommunications and energy infrastructure owned by such companies as Verizon and Consolidated Edison Co. of New York. "We must focus on redundancies, not just restoration," said Pataki. "There were many choke points on these lines."
The $5 billion in tax breaks include a $1-billion bonus depreciation for new residential and commercial structures in the lower Manhattan "Liberty Zone" and $2.1 billion in municipal and new tax-exempt bond assistance to build these projects.
The city's Metropolitan Transit Authority is hoping to collect $1.5 billion in insurance moneywith a $15-million deductibleto help cover the cost of its 1 and 9 line reconstruction work. MTA Chief Engineer Mysore Nagaraja said the agency is working on potential early completion incentives for the joint venture rebuilding about 1,900 ft of tunnel. A.J. Pegno and Tully Construction Co. plan to complete the job, estimated to cost up to $600 million, on Sept. 30. Potential liquidated damages stand at $100,000 a day.
Since receiving the contract in February, the team has been excavating rubble from the 18-ft-high tunnel section. Work should be finished by the end of March. Extending from Rector St. to Chambers St., the rebuilt segment will be a simple box with steel frames set 5 ft apart and poured-in-place concrete. Two new tracks with one crossover will be placed in the structure, running parallel to and 15 ft away from the upper part of the WTC's site "bathtub."