May 19th - May 25th, 2006
Hearing Held on the State of WTC Construction
Friday, May 19th: Officials charged with the task of rebuilding the World Trade Center site were invited to testify at a public hearing on Thursday, May 18th, to discuss the progress of the reconstruction efforts. The hearing, convened by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, will be the "first of many" according to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. For more on this story, click here.
7 World Trade Center Officially Open
Monday, May 22nd: Exactly four years to the month since construction began, 7 World Trade Center (250 Greenwich Street) opened on Tuesday, May 23rd, with a grand public concert outside its front doors. The concert and opening ceremony celebrated the completion of one of the world's safest and "greenest" towers and spotlighted the determination of owner Silverstein Properties to build the tower on schedule and on budget. For more on this story, click here.
WTC Rescue Dog Dies
Monday, May 22nd: Bandit, the German shepherd who was among the searchers at Ground Zero and recovered a body, passed away last month and was memorialized in an emotional ceremony this week, Newsday reported. Bandit, who was 12 years old, was buried at Sheltervale Pet Cemetery in Huntington, New York, the paper continued.
Police Sergeant Scott Bresalier of Nassau County chose Bandit when he joined the police department's K-9 unit in 1996, Newsday reported. He knew there was "something special" about his partner when he met him, he told the paper. "He loved going to work," he continued. After being diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Bandit retired in 2003, the paper added.
Transit Hub Over Budget
Tuesday, May 23rd: The Fulton Street Transit Center, designed to link 12 subway lines and connect to the World Trade Center PATH station, could cost $40 to 50 million more than its $799 million original budget, the New York Times reported, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is looking for ways to scale back the project. Mysore Nagaraja, who oversees capital construction for the MTA, attributed the rising costs to increasing real estate values in the neighborhood, which have forced the MTA to pay more for private property on the site than it had originally anticipated, the paper continued. Stricter asbestos removal standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have also caused construction costs to escalate, the paper added.
According to the Times, the projected opening of the Fulton Street Transit Center, which is funded by the Federal Transit Authority, has been delayed from December 2008 to June 2009. According to the Daily News, Nagaraja has not ruled out additional changes to the design in order to cut costs. Previous design modifications, including a scaled back entry dome and narrowed underground passageway connecting to the World Trade Center PATH train hub, were made last year.
"While we agree that improved circulation at Fulton Street is the first priority, we will be very disappointed if the building is so reduced that there is no real presence downtown," Beverly Dolinsky, executive director of the New York City Transit Riders Council, told the Daily News. Barry Feinstein, an MTA board member, is not as concerned about the aesthetics of the hub as long as the transportation network is improved. He told the News, "The cutesy stuff -- the beautiful stuff -- I have no interest in that if we don't have enough money to do the job. I don't care about a pretty building. I just don't care."
Construction is currently underway on some of the center's components, and Nagaraja is looking for a way to cut costs in a way that doesn't require a design change so dramatic that it calls for complete federal reanalysis. "They are trying to do it in a way that is economically elegant," Timothy O'Brien, a spokesman for the MTA, told the Times.