Political Controversies

The vision of the World Trade Center was not just to make it the tallest building in the world. It was a building that aimed to show the world the power of the United States, and for that purpose the devisers of the WTC were willing to combat with all obstacles that came their way. The original plan of the WTC proposed in 1960 was instantly subject to a lot of opposition, but one by one, Austin Tobin and David Rockefeller overcame all those obstacles and achieved the impossible.

Who Would Finance the WTC?

Without the help of the Port Authority, there was no WTC. But technically, the Port Authority was not obliged to get involved in this business. Previously, it had help build tunnels, bridges etc. but all that was geared towards making the transportation links between NJ and NY stronger. There was no way the Port Authority was going to get involved in this kind of office building.

The Port Authority comprised of two states, New York and New Jersey. Although it was relatively easy to coax the New York Port Authority to give in this project, the governor of New Jersey, Robert Meyner, instantly rejected the idea of the World Trade Center, simply because the plan provided no benefit to New Jersey. Secondly, New Jersey wanted the forecasted money for the project of World Trade Center to be allocated to the Hudson and Manhattan (H&M) Railroad instead, which had been operating under bankruptcy since 1954 (Glanz and Lipton).

Tobin and the Rockefellers managed to solve this problem and came up with a brilliant plan to move the site of the World Trade Center from the East Side to the Lower West Side. This way, they could put the World Trade Center right on top of the new train terminal, therefore saving the H&M terminal and going right ahead with the project of WTC. The new proposal soon got approved by the Port Authority.

Opposition by Real Estate Agents

The WTC provided an office space of 10 million square feet intended to be rented out to tenants. The private real estate people genuinely feared that the WTC would throw them out of business and no one would hire their office space. Also, the owner of the Empire State building feared that the completion of a taller building than his own would force him out of business. The WTC was accused of using government funds to make a profit in real estate market.

The Objections of Small Businesses

On the site planned for WTC were 323 commercial and industrial tenants, over one thousand varied-sized offices, and around 100 residential tenants. These small businesses organized protests, and their complaints gained press, which portrayed the problem of “little man battling with the ruthless agency.” Interviews and stories in the papers were mostly about the disappearances of small businesses and little shops.