By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The cost of Santiago Calatrava's dramatic winged PATH hub at the World Trade Center has ballooned to $3.44 billion, the Port Authority announced Thursday.
The Port Authority board members expressed concerns about the $180 million increase at a meeting Thursday morning but ultimately voted in favor of it.
One reason for the rising cost is that the Port Authority had to "harden" the PATH and subway station for security reasons, said Steve Plate, director of World Trade Center construction for the agency.
As a result, a steel contract that was expected to cost less than $100 million came in at $205 million, Plate said.
The price of the project also rose because of high international shipping costs and overruns on smaller plumbing, electrical and mechanical contracts, Plate said.
The Port Authority will use money from a contingency fund to cover the extra costs, Plate said.
The 800,000-square-foot station will be the third largest in the city when it is scheduled to open in 2014 and will serve roughly 250,000 commuters a day.
With the Port Authority's vote on Thursday, 94 percent of the contracts for the project have been awarded.
However, Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, warned that there could be some additional cost overruns in the remaining 6 percent of the contracts.