Digest, week of February 22 – 28, 2012

Obama solicits tax credit for W.T.C.
President Barack Obama’s budget plan proposed last week includes a $200 million tax credit for transportation upgrades at the future World Trade Center, according to a Monday, Feb. 13 report in Reuters.

The annual benefits package for Downtown would amount to $2 billion over the next 10 years to both the city and the state and would extend from 2013 to 2022. The plan would supplant prior, currently defunct tax credits the feds previously approved to recover from 9/11, according to the report.

The new credits could monetarily assist the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which was recently decried by financial auditors as a “dysfunctional” agency that is burdened with millions of dollars in debt.

Tower 4 crane collapses
Minutes before 10 a.m. last Thursday, Feb. 16, a pile of elevated steel beams that had been lifted into the air by a crane atop Tower 4 fell to the ground. The accident resulted in no injuries, according to John Gallagher, vice president of public affairs at Tishman Construction.

“The cable of a crane broke,” Gallagher explained, “causing the steel it was lifting to fall approximately 40 stories back onto the flatbed truck that had transported the steel into the W.T.C. site.”

“Everybody was yelling and running,” construction worker Frank Pensabene told the Associated Press.

New York Police Department Commissioner Paul Browne confirmed the news and specified that the incident occurred between Towers 3 and 4.

Downtown service on the Number 1 train was temporarily suspended, and some of the construction at the W.T.C. site was stopped pending an investigation of the mishap, according to Gallagher. “We are investigating the matter in full cooperation with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the FDNY and the city Department of Buildings,” he said.

Greenwich St. gains traffic light
After years of advocating for a safer intersection, the city Department of Transportation finally installed a traffic light at the intersection of Greenwich and Duane Streets in Tribeca on Monday, Feb. 20. The D.O.T. made the decision late last year after three-year-old Ozzie Carty was hit by a cab while crossing Greenwich Street on a scooter. Carty suffered minor injuries.

A study initiated by the D.O.T. revealed that the notoriously dangerous intersection adhered to federal guidelines, citing that pedestrian volumes at the site tripled since the Department’s previous study, according to Spokesperson Scott Gastel.

“I know the Tribeca community will be much safer with this traffic signal in place,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “It is important to constantly evaluate and revise our traffic environment and to make sure the safety regulations in place are adequate to protect pedestrians.”

Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin said she was relieved to hear the news as the mother of three young children who frequent the intersection.

“There is no more important issue than the safety and protection of our children, and by installing this light at this heavily trafficked intersection where there had been unfortunate accidents, we are ensuring that the hundreds of children who cross this intersection daily are protected,” said Menin.

Carty’s parents couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Out-of-towner threatens to blow up One W.T.C.
A tourist patronizing the ‘W’ Hotel purportedly threatened to bomb the World Trade Center, according to a story in the Feb. 21 edition of the New York Post.

Forty-one-year-old Brian Hunter from Bristol, R.I., reportedly told police officers, “I’m going to place a bomb in One World Trade Center and blow it up so it will fall over onto another building because I do not approve of it.”

Staff solicited help from the NYPD’s World Trade Center Command Center when Hunter attempted to avoid paying his hotel bill.

A source told the Post that NYPD detectives said Hunter is not a “credible threat.”

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