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Political Fingers Point Over 9/11 Museum Standstill

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TWC News: Political Fingers Point Over 9/11 Museum Standstill
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The National September 11 Museum was supposed to be open in time for Tuesday's 11th anniversary of the terror attacks, but instead a funding dispute has brought construction to a standstill.

The 9/11 Memorial with its twin reflecting pools opened last year on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The below-ground museum was supposed to open this year. But instead, completion still appears to be a year away or more.

At issue are a number of funding disputes between the 9/11 Memorial Foundation chaired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site and is jointly controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

The two sides disagree about who is responsible for what costs, including the estimated $60 million it will cost annually to run the museum, and about oversight of the memorial and museum.

Judging from their Monday comments, the mayor and governor are not close to a deal.

"We want it done. We also have to do it in a way that is financially feasible. And the Port Authority is not rolling in money, as you know. And we just did a toll increase, and I don’t want to do another one," Cuomo told WGDJ-AM on Monday.

"The governor’s not been well-informed by his staff. The obligations that the Port has are well-documented. And the obligations that the foundation have are well-documented," Bloomberg said.

The mayor also said, “We have already given the Port Authority every single penny that we are required to.”

Bloomberg said of the estimated $60 million needed annually to run the museum, there are encouraging signs the federal government may provide up to $20 million of that sum. He stressed the total covers basic maintenance and security and no extravagances.

“Nobody is taking the money and building a hunting lodge for the trustees, or having caviar and champagne every night,” the mayor said.

Both sides said they are hopeful a deal will get done, but even then it’s unclear at this point the museum could get done even in time for next year’s anniversary.

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