NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As New York City marks the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Congress is being asked to provide more funding for the memorial plaza.

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Friday on a proposal to provide up to $25 million a year for the plaza.

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The memorial and underground museum together cost $60 million a year to run. And while the federal government contributed heavily to building the institution, leaders have tried unsuccessfully for years to get Washington to chip in for annual costs.

During the hearing, Board Member Debra Burlingame, whose brother was piloting one of the hijacked planes on 9/11, was asked about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the plaza, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“With that type of high-profile visit, who pays for the security and the operations?” a committee member asked.

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“We pay for it all,” Burlingame responded.

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Under the current proposal, any federal money would go only toward the memorial plaza. An estimated 21 million people have visited it for free since its 2011 opening.

“We’re asking for help in this partnership to make sure that everything the memorial is today, it can continue to be,” Board Member Robert Kasdin said.

The museum charges up to $24 per ticket, a price that initially sparked some controversy. Still, almost 3.6 million visitors have come since the museum’s May 2014 opening, topping projections by about 5 percent, National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum President Joe Daniels said.

Any federal funding could lead to expanded discounts for school and other groups, but there are no plans to lower the regular ticket price, he said.

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