New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that construction of the September 11 museum at the World Trade Center site will not be completed in time for the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks because of a long-standing financial dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation, whose board he chairs, the Associated Press reports.
Although the dispute between the Port Authority and foundation goes back years, the mayor's announcement represents the first time a city official has acknowledged that the disagreement will result in the museum not opening on schedule. According to the AP, the Port Authority, which developed the original WTC and is building the 9/11 museum, alleges the foundation is $300 million in arrears, while the foundation argues that it is owed $140 million from the authority because of project delays.
The museum was scheduled to open one year after the memorial was unveiled on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The memorial — two reflecting pools sitting in the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood, with the names of every person who died in the the attacks inscribed into bronze panels around their perimeter — already has drawn a million visitors since it opened in September.
While it is unclear when the dispute over who is responsible for the soaring infrastructure costs of the new museum will be resolved, Bloomberg remains optimistic that an agreement will be reached. "There is no chance of it being open on time," said Bloomberg. "Work has basically stopped...[But,] I'm sure we are going to work something out with the Port Authority. They've got a difficult budget situation. I'm sympathetic to that."