• The rebuilding process at Ground Zero took another small step forward today as final plans for Towers 2, 3, and 4 were unveiled. Larry Silverstein and a group of architects unveiled updated designs for the buildings, which are supposed to start construction in January. These plans are more detailed than the initial designs released last year, with more information on the lobbies, public spaces, and building facades. Silverstein says the buildings will be environmentally friendly and use the the latest safety innovations.

    The three buildings are scheduled to be completed by 2012 (Towers 3 and 4) and 2013 (Tower 2) and the Port Authority has already issued $1.8 billion in construction contracts. Officials also said that $300 million of the $350 million for the memorial and museum has already been raised.

  • Despite rising costs, the World Trade Center transit hub will still have the roof wings that Santiago Calatrava designed. Originally estimated to cost $2.2 billion, projected costs have already increased $500 million to $1 billion. The wings can open and close to allow light into the terminal. The Port Authority says, "Our goal is to bring it as close to the $2.2 billion figure that we can." With the federal government picking up $1.9 billion of the cost, we wouldn't be surprised if the total figure came out to $2.9 billion.
  • If you want an estimate on cleanup costs, do not turn to the Environmental Protection Agency. The fed's General Accounting Office calls the EPA's cleanup efforts lacking. The EPA is currently cleaning 272 residences and 25 buildings, but the budget they have for the project isn't based on what it actually costs, but on how much money was left in the budget from cleaning in 2002 and 2003. The GAO also says that the EPA misled people about the contaminant levels found while cleaning, saying the EPA used results from after residences were cleaned to say a "very small" sample of apartments had unsafe levels of asbestos.
  • The EPA and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation are also in a disagreement - this one is over how to proceed at the Deutsche Bank building. The EPA says the LMDC's #1 priority should be re-sealing the building. The LMDC says that the building needs to be stabilized before any other work can be done.

Above right photo of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, left, and developer Larry Silverstein by AP/Mark Lennihan