WTC Site Could Cost $1B More Than Projected

Bloomberg seeks to restart stalled talks over WTC site...

The good news is the city seems to be done wrangling with the MTA's financial woes for the time being, but now it's someone else's turn to struggle with billion-dollar budget problems.

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub could cost nearly 30 percent more than was projected less than a year ago, The Daily News reported.

There's a 90-percent chance that the Port Authority's original $3.2 billion estimate will not be met, according to a cost-review study cited by The Daily News.

The figures come out on a day when Mayor Bloomberg is scheduled to meet with key players in the project -- Gov. Paterson, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, Port Authority leaders, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and builder Larry Silverstein, who was told by the PA recently that two of the buildings were going to be short, stump-style buildings more suited for retail. At a news conference Tuesday, Bloomberg emphasized that he expects no significant agreements to come from today's summit.

"We're not going to get through this today," he said. "The real mission is that people are talking and that they understand the urgency. We don't want to leave holes in the ground."

The Federal Transit Administration study estimated there's a 50-50 likelihood that the project could cost $3.8 billion, an overrun of $600 million.

And there's a 10-percent chance that the project will cost as much as $5.4 billion, but a PA spokesman said construction-cost escalation is not a problem, adding that some supplies were coming in at or even below budget, The Daily News reported.

"We're confident that we've mitigated the risks," spokesman Stephen Sigmund told the paper. "The bottom line is that the Hub is on schedule and on the budget that we announced in October."

Added Bloomberg: "I've been living with this through three governors of New Jersey and three governors of New York. The bottom line is that it's more difficult to get financing."

The change in plans was just the latest in a project that's been rife with delays. The current target is now June 2014, but that same FTA study said there's a 50-50 chance of a November 2014 completion, maybe even May 2015, The Daily News reported.

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