NY Daily News - June 05, 2012by Kenneth Lovett
Tab for Ground Zero project has nearly doubled from $680 million estimate, and Cuomo says 'toll-payer is not an endless, bottomless well'ALBANY -- Gov. Cuomo warned he would not support an additional hike to bridge and tunnel tolls to offset the rising cost of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
The Daily News reported Monday that the museum's price tag, once projected to be $680 million, has nearly doubled -- and that the Port Authority, which administers the tolls, could be on the hook for much of the overrun.
"At one point, the answer can't be, 'Whoops! We blew another $500 million, we'll just raise the tolls,'" Cuomo said in response Monday.
"The toll-payer is not an endless, bottomless well for government to dip into to cure their incompetence."
Cuomo said "a tremendous amount of money" has been "wasted" in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.
He said he recognizes that a major push was made to have the memorial open last year in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks -- but said that doesn't make up for the project exceeding its budget.
The price tag now stands at $1.3 billion, sources told The News, and could run as high as $1.466 billion.
A source familiar with the foundation that is creating the memorial and museum admitted Monday the project will cost more than the $680 million projection, but insisted it will be far less than $1.466 billion.
Work on the museum has nearly come to a halt as the Port Authority and the foundation fight over $157 million in funding. Cuomo has said the disputed amount is as high as $300 million.
Kevin Frazier, a spokesman for the foundation, had no comment on Cuomo's statements Monday.