Bloomberg Supports Federal Funds for 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday said he supports National Park involvement at the September 11 Memorial and Museum.

“We’d love to get 20 million bucks a year. We’ve asked them,” said Bloomberg, adding he had spoken with Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie about getting support from Congress.

Governors Cuomo and Christie requested the National Park Service have a role on the managing and funding or the memorial and the museum.

“As governors of the states with jurisdiction over the World Trade Center site, we believe that federal support through the National Park Service would ensure long term stability of the Memorial and Museum, ensure the best possible visitor experience by taking advantage of the Park Service's expertise," they wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Mayor Bloomberg seized on the $20 million figure, saying it is comparable to what the federal government sent to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum — which was dedicated to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

But Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, takes issue with the $20 million figure. She said the memorial did not receive that much money from the federal government. It received $5 million from the federal government to build the site, which had a price tag of $29 million 17 years ago, and a pledge for an additional $4 million.

Watkins added that less than $1 million a year is budgeted for the National Park Service to give interpretive tours of the outdoor memorial, but the service does not maintain or manage the site. That falls to the foundation, which does not receive federal funds annually.

Separately, Bloomberg said reports that the memorial is several hundred million dollars over budget and has a price tag into the billions had “no basis in fact.”

He said, “We raised over $450 million privately and the people that have given that money are going to get the museum they want and run it in non political ways.”

Some of the victims’ families have been critical about placing unidentified remains on the site, as well as the lack of a completion date for the museum.

Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has introduced legislation that would provide $20 million a year in federal support for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The memorial and museum are run by a private foundation led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

With the Associated Press