The September 11 attacks could cost New York up to US$95 billion, partly depending upon the number of jobs relocated out of the city, according to a new report released Wednesday.
City Comptroller William Thompson said in his report that the final financial toll the city suffers as the result of the attacks would be between US$83 billion to US$95 billion by the end of 2004, with the cost of replacing destroyed or damaged buildings reaching US$21.8 billion.
The attacks on the World Trade Center destroyed 13 million square feet (1.2 million square meters) of prime office space, equal to the all the office space in the central business district of Atlanta or Miami.
"While this devastating event can never be reduced to numbers, it is clear that New York City and the nation will continue to suffer its economic ramifications for years to come," Thompson said.
He said that New Yorkers would lose a total of 146,000 jobs resulted from the event. Up till now New York City has 83,000 fewer jobs than it did a year ago, but a likely economic rebound would have created 63,000 new jobs that now have not materialized.
New York City will lose nearly US$3 billion in taxes that it would have collected in lower Manhattan. It also will have to pay almost US$500 million in overtime for cleaning up Ground Zero, Thompson said. The federal government will not reimburse the city for this overtime as well as some healthcare expenses for the workers.
The Bush administration has promised the city US$21.4 billion in federal assistance, but so far, New York City has gotten US$2.7 billion. The city's jobless rate in July stood at 7.7 percent, above the national rate of 5.9 percent.
Thompson told reporters that the federal aid, though helpful for the economy, will not be enough to spur a rebound. That is because the aid package is not all cash; it includes, for example, a series of tax breaks and gives the city the ability to cut costs by refinancing some of its debt.
The World Trade Center's twin towers collapsed on Sept. 11,2001,after two planes hit into them. The air attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, shut the New York Stock Exchange for nearly one week and forced many financial firms to hire temporary offices.
(People's Daily September 5, 2002)