New York officials Monday announced the federal government has allocated $4.5 billion for a transportation hub at the site of the former World Trade Center.
The proposed transportation hub would connect ferry, bus, interstate rail and subway traffic, linking Manhattan with the city's outer boroughs, the rest of New York State, and New Jersey.
New York State Governor George Pataki says some significant changes to Federal Emergency Management Agency policy had to be made to free up the $4.55 billion devoted to the project, as FEMA aid is used to rebuild structures as they existed before a disaster - not to construct something new.
"It allows us to do what we said we would do on the day of September 11, and that is not just recreate what was here on the morning of September 11, but work to create a 21st century infrastructure, and to make lower Manhattan greater, a 24-hour community, the world financial center, but greater than it was on the morning of September 11," he said.
A large transportation hub is part of all of the six proposals for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.
At the news conference announcing the federal funding, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said the transportation hub will be key to rebuilding downtown Manhattan, but the importance of the memorial to those who died in the attack remains paramount.
"Nothing we are announcing or doing today undermines or defers the important decisions about the memorial," she said. "Every one of us knows that the memorial to those who lost their lives on this hallowed ground is the number one priority."
Funding for the transportation center comes from more than $21 billion in recovery funds pledged to New York by the federal government shortly after the attacks, and it will be pooled with the $1.8 billion already committed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to rebuilding damaged subway and commuter train lines.