Mayor Seeks End of LMDC, More Control of Ground Zero

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The New York Sun

Seeking more control over the future of ground zero, Mayor Bloomberg is calling on Governor Paterson to dismantle a federally funded agency in charge of the project and turn over its development responsibilities to the city.

Bemoaning the slow progress on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday that getting rid of the agency run by the city and state, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., would remove one more layer of bureaucracy and help speed up the work at the site of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“It’s just another level of checks and balances and bureaucracy that you don’t need,” he said after a press conference in Lower Manhattan yesterday. “When you have too many levels that doesn’t mean any one is wrong. It just means that the cumulative effect of all of it is delaying things.”

His comments followed the publication of an opinion piece he wrote about ground zero that appeared in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. In the article, Mr. Bloomberg said the city would begin pushing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns ground zero, to commit to finishing the September 11 memorial before the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

He also insisted in the article that the underground hall below the Path station planned for the site be scaled back, writing that it “is too complicated to build and threatens to delay the memorial and the entire project.”

Mr. Bloomberg said he wants the LMDC to turn over its responsibility for demolishing the Deutsche Bank building, in which two firefighters were killed last summer, to another city-state agency, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.

The speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan, said he is opposed to the mayor’s plan to dismantle the LMDC, making it the latest policy issue over which the two have sparred since the mayor’s congestion pricing proposal failed in Albany.

A spokesman for Mr. Silver, Dan Weiller, said the speaker wants to keep an agency in place “that is responsible for coordinating efforts of city, state, and federal agencies and that has representation on its board from both the city and the state.”

Mr. Paterson did not rule out the mayor’s proposal yesterday but also did not endorse it. In a statement, he said that while he and the mayor “share a sense of disappointment and frustration at the unacceptable pace of the Ground Zero rebuilding,” he has asked the Port Authority to conduct a review of the project, which he said he would receive later this month.

A spokesman for the Port Authority, Steve Coleman, said in a statement: “The point of the report we are doing is to make decisions on exactly these tough issues and move on to getting every project on the site completed as quickly as possible.”

A spokesman for the LMDC declined to comment on the article yesterday.

The New York Sun

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