Atlantis Online
September 26, 2023, 05:03:12 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: ARE Search For Atlantis 2007 Results
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

At World Trade Center, the twin towers' disgraceful replacement

Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: At World Trade Center, the twin towers' disgraceful replacement  (Read 161 times)
Michelle Jahn
Superhero Member
Posts: 5791

« on: June 07, 2012, 12:43:48 am »

At World Trade Center, the twin towers' disgraceful replacement
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 8:13 AM     Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 8:33 PM
 By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist The Star-Ledger

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesA photo of the new World Trade Center under construction in January.
By Richard Hughes and Margaret Donovan

A recent Star-Ledger editorial ("Towering paradox," May 3) referred to the Freedom Tower as the “symbolic rebirth of the twin towers.” The American people never asked for a symbolic rebirth. We wanted an honest rebirth with new twin towers, but were cheated out of them by years of official connivance. One generic tower in place of two world icons is a travesty, not a triumph. The redevelopment may be shrouded in complexity, but certain facts are beyond dispute.

One new tower would have cost less than the Freedom Tower and a second tower less than the transit hub. But instead of spectacular 21st-century twins, we got less than half the space and a fraction of the inspiration for a lot more than re-engineered twin towers would have cost. And we will be paying for years to come. If that isn’t a swindle, what is?

Chris Ward, the former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was presented with a fully designed plan for new twin towers soon after taking over at the Port Authority. If he had done due diligence on the Twin Towers II plan, he could have saved the public billions of dollars and two gleaming, state-of-the-art twin towers would already have topped out at 120 stories. That is what a true “source of pride” and “national triumph” would look like. The contrast is hard to miss.

Did Ward brief the Port Authority commissioners on the plan that was presented to him in his office in September 2008, when we introduced him to Kenneth Gardner, the Twin Towers II designer? The Port Authority had a duty to perform a feasibility study of the relative costs and benefits before racing forward. Instead, Ward argued, repeatedly, in print and on the air, about the impracticality of new twin towers, while he busily pumped a moribund plan full of steroids.

Was that his strategy or the commissioners? Who will explain why it was decided not to look into a plan that could have saved so much time and money — while giving the people (who happen to be paying for it) what they have wanted all along? Four years later, we are being asked to settle for Mutt-and-Jeff towers — with a wide gap in between, where the two missing towers may not be built for another decade, if they ever are. Some recovery.

The Port Authority commissioners deserve the benefit of the doubt when they say that they truly want to reform the dysfunctional agency. So far, the changes are radical but mainly cosmetic. The real damage was done during 10 years of closed-door sessions, and the doors are still not opening. But they must. Because the agency has forfeited the right to lock the public out and expect us to assume they have our best interest at heart.

Let them prove it. The Port Authority’s recent changes are masking, not changing, the agency’s penchant for secrecy. There is much we don’t know about ill-advised actions that were taken, but we know what questions need asking.

For starters, what advantage was there in letting WTC developer Larry Silverstein pay his annual ground rent from 9/11 insurance proceeds — and even take back his original down payment? What else has he been paying for with funds that have to be made up by the public? Why wasn’t he evicted from the site for nonperformance, instead of being allowed to establish himself as a squatter on the public’s property?

Auditors and rating agencies have much to answer for, too. How can the Port Authority’s outlook be “stable” when it would be effectively insolvent if the region’s drivers weren’t bailing it out?

What is presented here is just the tip of an iceberg that the Port Authority can avoid hitting only by coming clean. None of this had to happen. It was the result of shading and shaving the truth. But the truth is the least Americans deserve at this most public of public properties. We certainly have paid enough for it, haven’t we?

Richard Hughes and Margaret Donovan are co-founders of the Twin Towers Alliance, a citizens watchdog group for the WTC site and reconstruction.
Report Spam   Logged

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy