After an embarrassing NY Times article reporting on how the 9/11 Museum was delayed because they couldn't work together, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg announced last night that there was a deal in place to re-start work on the much-delayed museum. Cuomo's statement noted, "Today's agreement is yet another milestone in our work to finally complete the site as a place where people from around the world can come to work, visit and remember," while Bloomberg's said, "This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed."
The museum was originally slated for a 2009 opening and had, last year, been on track for a 2012 opening. But the museum's progress has been stymied by fighting between the Port Authority—controlled by the governors of NY and NJ—and the 9/11 Foundation, led by its chairman...Mayor Bloomberg. There are disagreements on both sides about how much each party owes: The Port Authority, which agreed to pay for the construction, says the 9/11 Foundation owes $150-300 million (the museum's cost has ballooned from $1 billion to $1.3 billion), while the 9/11 Foundation says the Port Authority should pay it since they've delayed the opening.
According to the NY Times, "The tentative resolution involves additional cash payments from the Sept. 11 foundation for construction costs, closer coordination among the parties and the creation of an advisory committee to resolve disputes." Another committee—sounds like just what they needed. The Daily News reports, "Under the agreement, a planning committee made up of representatives of all three power players will try and hash out details of the anniversary event starting four months before each Sept. 11. An 8-member advisor panel consisting of two appointments each by the New York and New Jersey governors and four from the memorial foundation will settle any disputes."
Here's a PDF of the operating agreement, plus statements from the governor and mayor. Cuomo's statement:
As New Yorkers and Americans gather on the anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks, we pause once again to remember those we lost and the enormous sacrifice of the brave heroes who rushed into the gravest of dangers. Over the last few years, we have made extraordinary progress at Ground Zero and today's agreement is yet another milestone in our work to finally complete the site as a place where people from around the world can come to work, visit and remember. By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the Memorial and Museum, today's agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion. I commend Governor Christie, Mayor Bloomberg, and the leadership of the Port Authority and the September 11 Memorial & Museum for their work on today's agreement.
I'm very gratified that on the eve of this important anniversary we are able to announce an agreement that will ensure the completion of the 9/11 Museum. As Chairman of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum board, which is made up of supporters and family members who so successfully opened the completed Memorial last year, my goal during this period has been to get construction on the museum restarted. This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed. The museum is important to the families of those who died on 9/11 - they've contributed photos and memories of their lost loved ones, who deserve a thoughtful tribute. The museum is important to the historical record and will preserve materials and artifacts of great significance that tell the story of what happened on that terrible day. The museum is important to the country and the world because it helps us remember that freedom is precious. This agreement represents a meaningful victory for the families, and I thank Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie and the Port Authority for their cooperation.