NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Details are being released of an audit of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey ordered by both governors.
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The Port Authority is so mismanaged, says the auditor, it needs a top to bottom overhaul.
The audit says employee benefits are excessive and costs are out of control, especially those at the World Trade Center site. $4 billion has been tacked on to that bill in the last four years.
There’s no argument from the Port Authority’s new chairman, David Samson.
“The agency has clearly suffered from a lack of consistent leadership. There have been more than ten executive directors over the past ten years,” said Samson. “This is a diagnosis of a complicated set of issues that needs to be solved.”
Samson says the push to get the 9/11 Memorial site open on time was a big reason for the spike in costs there.
“To ensure we met our commitment to open the memorial on time for the tenth anniversary, that commitment played a key role in the escalation of these costs,” he said.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Mayor Bloomberg
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg begs to differ.
“I don’t think the cost for the memorial or the museum are higher, basically, than what was originally envisioned and, in fact, at one point we had an agreement with the Port Authority, they asked us to raise some more money and we did that and a lot more on top of that,” said Bloomberg.
But the audit points to engineering changes that had to be made to other parts of the site to beat the deadline.
But Bloomberg did add the following: “Can you imagine if America couldn’t have come up with a memorial by the tenth anniversary, I would suggest the press would have had a field day. It would have gone on and on. It would have been embarrassment around the world. New York had to deliver. The Port Authority had to deliver.”
Bloomberg also said the whole site is perhaps the most complex construction project in the history of the world.
The audit was ordered by Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo following toll and fare hikes enacted by the agency.
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