NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The agency that owns the World Trade Center site approved 1 billion dollars Thursday to fund construction of the Freedom Tower, local media reported on Friday.
The Port Authority gave the green light two days after New York Governor Eliot Spitzer backed the project despite earlier concerns.
At a meeting to discuss the World Trade Center redevelopment, board members agreed to fork over 1 billion dollars to fund construction at the site. The agency says they will hand out 500 million dollars in construction contracts now and the rest by mid-year.
Agency officials say the budget for the 1,776-foot tower is now at 2.9 billion dollars, which includes 500 million dollars in costs such as marketing the tower, fitting it out for new tenants and construction security.
Construction on the building -- one of five being built to replace the office space destroyed with the trade center -- began last April.
It is scheduled to open in 2012, a date the agency set last fall when it officially took control of the construction from developer Larry Silverstein.