The exorbitant costs of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub have been well-reported: the station cost $US4 billion. New Yorkers can already experience one element of the pricey hub, a walkway under West Street. And if calculations are correct, this 180m corridor is the most expensive hallway on the planet.
How'd we get here? Santiago Calatrava's dinosaur skeleton station has long been described as a boondoggle. The architect is famous for building his fanciful structures after deadline and over budget (and then shouldering cities with excessive repairs and maintenance costs when they don't hold up). But you could also blame disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer: His administration recommended changes to keep the plan under the original and still ridiculous budget of $US2.5 billion. But then Spitzer had the whole sex-with-a-hooker problem and resigned, and without his watchdogs, the costs ballooned to $US4 BILLION.
So what's the grand total just for this one hallway? Keep in mind that the price includes not only the elegant details like the white marble but also the cost of digging the brand-new tunnel under West Street. A spokesperson for the Port Authority told Next City that the final cost for the underground pedestrian passageway was approximately — drumroll, please — $US225 MILLION. For some perspective, as Next City puts it: "$225 million would buy an entire subway station and one kilometre of tunnel in most continental European cities." The WTC Transportation Hub has already earned the title of most expensive train station in history.
It's already painfully obvious that New York City is sparing no expense for this development (hey, the new World Trade Center logo cost $US3.57 million). But New Yorkers should be furious at this ridiculous waste of funds. If I lived there, I'd spend as much time in this hallway as possible. Maybe spend a night or two inside, just to get my money's worth. [Next City]
Picture: Noel Y.C.