9/11 museum accord reached on eve of anniversary, Cuomo says

An agreement that will allow completion of New York’s Sept. 11 museum without spending additional public funds was reached hours before today’s 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The accord ensures that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will restart construction “very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed,” Bloomberg said late yesterday in a statement. The deal protects taxpayers from bearing additional costs, Cuomo said in a statement.

The agreement reduces the influence of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation, led by Bloomberg. Decisions on policy and events will be shared by the foundation board with a task force, a working group and an advisory committee. The members will be representatives of the Port Authority, the governors of New York and New Jersey, the memorial board and the mayor.

“We have made extraordinary progress at Ground Zero and today’s agreement is yet another milestone in our work to finally complete the site as a place where people from around the world can come to work, visit and remember,” Cuomo said.

Bloomberg and Cuomo have clashed over costs for finishing the project. With the agreement, the Port Authority estimates its exposure for delays and overtime has been reduced to $150 million from about $300 million, according to the memorandum of understanding.

The accord calls for major events such as today’s anniversary to be governed by a “working group” with representatives appointed by the governors, the Port Authority and the city, which will present plans to the board. Unresolved disputes will go to another panel, an advisory board, likewise appointed.

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