October 5, 2008The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, October 5, 2008
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“New Yorkers have long been frustrated by the slow pace of progress at Ground Zero, myself included. The rebuilding effort is complex, but that should not be an excuse for inaction or delay. The process involves creating a major transit hub, significant infrastructure projects, several commercial buildings – including the Freedom Tower – and also the September 11 Memorial and Museum. These projects have enormous economic and symbolic significance for New York City and for our entire nation, and it’s important that we get them right – and get them moving faster.
“That’s why our administration has been pushing for a new plan that includes three key things: a simpler underground PATH station that will be easier and faster to build; a commitment that puts the September 11 Memorial and Museum first; and a schedule of milestones for development of the Memorial, against which elected officials, and the public, can measure progress.
“Last week, the Port Authority released a new report that puts us on a faster track to getting what we need. The solutions it proposes will help speed the pace of construction and hold the Authority accountable for hitting a number of benchmarks along the way. The report doesn’t deliver everything the City had hoped for, but it represents a huge step forward. It will also help achieve a goal that I’ve long been pushing for: to make completing the Memorial a top priority so that on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we’ll be able to pay our respects, at the Memorial, to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center.
“Until now, progress on the Memorial and its plaza had been contingent on completion of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub – a project that has been overwhelmed by delays and rising construction costs. The Port Authority has proposed two solutions that will allow us to move forward on the Memorial. First, they have worked with the Hub’s architect, Santiago Calatrava, to simplify its design. And second, they have reordered the construction schedule at the Hub so that we can build first the parts that directly affect the Memorial. That’s going to allow us to finish the central elements of the Memorial – the ‘reflecting absence’ pools that will occupy the footprints of the old Twin Towers – in time for the 10th Anniversary on September 11, 2011. As Chairman of the Memorial Foundation, I’m going to continue working with the Port Authority and urge them to step up the timetable, because having the entire Memorial completed by September 11, 2011 remains our ultimate goal.
“In 2002, our administration unveiled a bold vision for Lower Manhattan, and over the past six years, we’ve seen that vision come to life. If you take a walk around the neighborhood today, you’ll see streets packed with shoppers, workers, visitors, and residents … thousands of new homes being built in one of our fastest-growing residential communities…and an unprecedented volume of commercial construction taking place.
“The rebirth of Lower Manhattan has exceeded some of our greatest expectations. The one critical part that we’ve been missing is a rebuilt World Trade Center site that reflects the vibrancy of the surrounding neighborhood, pays tribute to the lives that were lost, and demonstrates New York City’s incredible resilience. Thanks to a strengthened partnership between the Port Authority, the Governor, and the City, we’re now closer to achieving that goal – and to restoring the heart of Lower Manhattan – than ever before.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”