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NYC Mayor Urges Push to Rebuild at Sept. 11 Site

Fri February 26, 2010 - National Edition
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NEW YORK (AP) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is frustrated over the slow pace of the rebuilding effort at the World Trade Center site more than eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he doesn’t want to see “that hole in the ground” a decade from now.

“It’s time to stop this craziness of everything and we’ve just got to move forward here,” he said on his weekly radio show Feb. 19.

He urged the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the property, to push ahead with the reconstruction effort now, while material and labor costs are low.

“If we don’t, you’re going to see me out there beating the drums every day,” Bloomberg said. “I’m not going to leave this world with that hole in the ground 10 years from now.”

Much work has already taken place at ground zero since the 2001 terrorism attack in which hijacked airliners felled the center’s Twin Towers.

Two skyscrapers, a memorial and a transit hub are already under construction. But the building of other planned towers has been stalled because of financing battles between the Port Authority and site developer Larry Silverstein.

Bloomberg laid some of the blame for the delays at the feet of the Port Authority, and urged them to either build now, “or just get out of the way.”

“They cannot leave a hole in the ground down where this tragedy took place and slow development for all of southern Manhattan,” he said.

“We agree with the mayor that the site should move forward … but a public bailout is not the answer,” Port Authority spokesman Stephen Sigmund said in a statement. He said the agency would continue to work for “a rational plan.”

The authority wants more private sector cash for the project than Silverstein has offered and prefers to delay construction on two of the towers until the real estate market improves.

Silverstein recently proposed ending the logjam by putting more of his own money into the project and making it more economically viable by scrapping one of its four planned skyscrapers.

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