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Report Examines How 9/11 Money Was Spent

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WNYC

A new report out Wednesday examined how the more than $20 billion of federal money intended to help lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks was actually spent.

The report from New York City's Independent Budget Office found that $7.3 billion, or about a third of the total, paid for emergency and rescue services.

About 60 percent of the money went to infrastructure and rebuilding projects, like the downtown transit hub.

The rest was used to shore up the city's revenues, which declined sharply following the attacks.

The IBO's last report on the funding focused on the use of the funds for long-term rebuilding.

The report suggested the money was largely effective. For example, a Liberty Bond program helped build more than 5,000 units of mainly market-rate housing, helping to boost the population in the area. 

Bettina Damiani, project director with the non-profit Good Jobs New York, said the report is thorough and accurate, but that more funding should have been used to build affordable housing downtown.

"We believe that this money shouldn't have been allocated, much of it, with the focus on creating high-end, rental luxury units," she said. "Cops, teachers, firefighters, you know, first responders, all the people we were lifting up and thanking after 9/11 could not afford to live in the kinds of housing that was being built with 9/11 resources."

Almost $700 million was still available for commercial projects and must be used by December 2012.

The report also stated that a large share of the $2.9 billion in tax breaks aimed at spurring hiring and business investment were not used, and attempts to redirect the fund had not been successful.

In 2001, many people expected residents to leave downtown for good.

Click for a full-screen view of the IBO report.

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