Thursday, April 27, 2006

Construction begins on Freedom Tower

New York has begun construction on the 1,776-foot replacement for the World Trade Center.

Cheesy name and design critiques aside, I agree with Gov. George Pataki:

"We are not going to just build low in the face of a war against terror," New York Gov. George Pataki said. "We are going to soar to new heights and reclaim New York's skyline."

The tower and four other high-rises are scheduled to be finished in 2011 and 2012. There's some prosaic concern that it will glut the office-space market, and there will certainly be some such effects: the loss of the WTC has been something of a bonanza for New Jersey building owners, for example. But the benefits of rebuilding -- psychological, if nothing else -- outweigh such temporary and unpredictable side effects.

I disagree with this assessment:

Pataki symbolically laid the first stone on July 4, 2004, just ahead of the Republican National Convention in New York. The moderate Republican is considering a run for U.S. president and his legacy from three terms as governor will depend largely on his stewardship of rebuilding "Ground Zero."

Rebuilding Ground Zero was going to happen no matter who was governor, and Pataki is not solely responsible for its success or failure; the mayor of New York City and the Port Authority, among others, have as much if not more influence over the project. I surely hope that Pataki has been doing far more -- and will be judged on far more -- than simply playing Donald Trump.

I look forward to seeing the tower rise over the skyline.

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