April 25, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – The coalition of building trades, service workers, elected offices and other Downtown stakeholders eager for the completion of the 3 Word Trade Center tower, is hoping that this week’s decision by the Port Authority to table the vote on extending $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to developer Larry Silverstein won’t significantly delay the project too much longer.
“We hope yesterday’s decision to delay the vote will ultimately lead to a green light for the project,” a spokesperson for Alliance for Downtown New York President Jessica Lappin told LaborPress. “Lower Manhattan has waited for more than 12 years for the restoration of the World Trade Center site – and we must not delay in the finishing of the work.”
Lappin joined with Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and others on Wednesday, in a rally outside the Port Authority’s Park Avenue South offices just prior to the vote.
Silverstein Properties is seeking the $1.2 billion loan package in order to move the 3 World Trade Center project beyond its current 8 stories height. But critics say that the developer should fund the project on his own so that the Port Authority can further invents in needed transportation projects.
Silverstein supporters, however, counter that the commitment to help rebuild the World Trade Center site following the destruction of September 11, 2001, was made long ago.
“It’s up to the Port Authority to do the right thing,” LaBarbera said at Wednesday’s rally. “This project makes a statement to the world: You can knock us down, but you can’t keep us down.”
Also a stake is anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 jobs, as well as new important opportunities for women and minority owned firms.
“Great progress has been made, but now is not the time to delay the completion of this effort,” Lappin said. “We must build it to create jobs. We must build it to continue our progress of Downtown. We must build it because completing the Downtown World Trade Center site is our collective duty.”
Frank Hussey, a worker with Tishman Construction, has been working on the renewed World Trade Center site’s varying components since the very beginning – and is loathe to get stuck onTower 3 now.
“We have to continue,” Hussey said. “We can’t stay in neutral. It’s time to move on.”
Carpenter Jessica Emrich has worked at the WTC for about two years and appealed directly to members of the Port Authority board and their sense of patriotism.
"We need to continue building the towers to provide the nation with a strong sense of patriotism and unity – but most importantly, for the lives that were lost. Let’s finish what we started,” Emrich said.
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin [D-District 1] stressed that a vast many jobs depend on the completion of 3 World Trade Center.
“After you build it, business comes in – that means service workers. The Manhattan councilwoman said. “That supports a lot of families in New York City. We have to got to tell the governor and the Port Authority that they have to continue to invest in this city.”
The Port Authority is expected to once again revisit the $1.2 billion loan package in the upcoming weeks.