The 9/11 museum's $24 admission fee has been met with outrage just days before its May 21 opening by those who say the price is prohibitively expensive.
NBC News reported that the ticket price is a symptom of a much larger money issue
for the long-delayed project.
Along with the memorial plaza opened in 2011 that features a pair of twin waterfalls, the museum cost a total of $700 million. This total, however, doesn't include the estimated $63 million in annual maintenance costs.
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The initial sum was covered through a combination of public and private money, including $15 million donated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but it’s primarily the annual costs that led to the $24 admission fee.
Many say that price is too expensive, and indicative of a runaway project.
"They went way overboard," said Jim Riches, a retired New York Fire Department chief whose firefighter son was killed in the World Trade Center. After donating his son's helmet to the museum, he declined attending any part of the opening ceremonies.
"The Washington Monument is free. The Lincoln Memorial is free. The Smithsonian, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are all free. The Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where George Washington strategized during the Battle of Brooklyn, is free," wrote Denis Hamill of the New York Daily News
. "But we’re paying $24 to enter the 9/11 museum, which, before anything else, is a national cemetery holding some of the remains of America’s war dead."
Bloomberg, who chairs the memorial foundation, was confronted about the admission fee by reporters at the opening ceremonies attended by President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Bloomberg agreed that the museum should be free, and encouraged everyone to "write your congressman" to press for more federal funding.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will receive discounted a admission of $18, and the museum has given free access to the survivors and families of the 9/11 victims.
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