Editor’s Note – They rebuilt the Pentagon inside the first year to ensure it was completed before the first anniversary of 9/11. People came from all over the country; mobilized in spirit to send a message to the world that the Pentagon was and is the symbol of our military might…job well done, under budget and on time.
But…when it comes to New York and the WTC, it is a story so very different and in the end pathetic, we are into 11 years and now this? It is a masterpiece, and quite beautiful, but one million per week?
By the Daily Mail - UK
With its huge reflecting pools, ringed by waterfalls and skyscrapers, and a cavernous underground museum still under construction, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center is an awesome spectacle that moved and inspired some 4.5million visitors in its first year.
But all that magnificence comes with a jaw-dropping price tag. The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the $700million project is complete, the memorial and museum will together cost $60million a year to operate.
The anticipated cost has bothered some critics and raised concerns even among the memorial’s allies that the budget may be unsustainable without a hefty government subsidy.
By comparison, the National Park Service budgeted $8.4million this year to operate and maintain Gettysburg National Military Park and $3.6million for the monument that includes the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Running Arlington National Cemetery, which has more than 14,000 graves and receives 4million visitors a year, costs $45million annually.
Officials at the 9/11 memorial say they face unique challenges that make comparisons to other national memorials difficult.
The foundation plans to spend at least a fifth of its operating budget, or around $12million per year, on private security because of terrorism fears. Visitors to the memorial plaza pass through airport-like security, and armed guards patrol the grounds.
‘The fact of the matter is that this was a place that was attacked twice,’ said Joseph Daniels, the foundation’s president and chief executive.
Just operating the two massive fountains that mark the spots where the twin towers once stood will cost another $4.5million to $5million annually, according to a spokesman.
Foundation officials have refused to answer to requests for information about other costs at the site, including the anticipated expense of running the museum, which is still unfinished.
The museum was supposed to open this month, but construction all but ceased a year ago because of a funding squabble between the foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land the memorial sits on.
Mr Daniels said it will take at least a year for the museum to open once construction resumes, meaning the site may not be fully complete until at least 2014.
The failure to open the museum on time has thrown off the foundation’s financial planning. Officials had expected to use the museum, being built mostly with money from various government agencies, plus private donations, as its main source of revenue.
While visitors will be allowed into the above-ground portions of the memorial for free, the foundation plans to charge people to descend into the museum’s exhibition space, where they will see portraits of the nearly 3,000 victims, hear oral histories of the tragedy and view artifacts such as the staircase World Trade Center workers used to flee on 9/11.
The admission price hasn’t been set. Foundation officials say they may also charge a ‘suggested donation’ where visitors would be allowed to enter for free but would be strongly encouraged to pay.
But if the museum gets the 2million visitors a year the foundation expects, a $12 fee, like the one charged at the memorial to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, would cover 40 per cent of the operating costs. More money will be generated through fundraising and the sale of memorabilia.
In addition, the foundation and several elected officials have proposed that the American public pick up one-third of the operating costs.
So far, Congress has balked. A bill proposed by Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye that would have had the National Park Service contribute $20million per year ran into opposition from Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who pointed out that the federal government had already spent $300million on the project.
A National Park Service official testified at a hearing that $20million is more than the agency can afford, and larger than the entire annual appropriation for nearly 99 per cent of the parks in its system.
Watch the video here.