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NEW YORK CITY-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton focused on the currently quagmired terrorism bill, creating a World Trade Center research institute and using Downtown real estate for a new high school. Clinton’s remarks were made at a REBNY breakfast meeting yesterday.

Clinton faulted the insurance industry for the stalled terrorism legislation. “The insurance industry has basically told the Congress that there is not a problem,” Clinton stated. “And while it’s not a problem in the sense that yes, there is coverage, it’s just that it’s unaffordable and exorbitant.”

In addition, Clinton noted, “We also have problems within Congress about what to put on the bill that I hope are being worked out. I am working with my colleagues and I have come up with a number of ideas including a federal insurance charter or a federal backstop that would guarantee an 80% or 100% payout if necessary [to building owners].”

A World Trade Center research institute, to be located in Lower Manhattan, was touted by Clinton as a forward-thinking solution to Downtown job retention. “We have been losing most of our high-tech jobs to other states,” Clinton noted. “A lot have gone to New Jersey, others have gone even farther afield. And yet we create a lot of the research and attain the patents that would translate into good high-paying jobs right here in New York City with our extraordinary network of both universities and private-sector businesses.”

The center would be similar in scope to “some of the other Centers of Excellence that we are trying to create around the state that would draw on university and private-sector resources, and would focus on biotechnology,” Clinton added.

Clinton also discussed retaining Lower Manhattan’s residential base, saying that “we have gone a long way” toward providing tax breaks for people living in the area. More specifically, Clinton said that building a new high school would be “a tangible way of demonstrating our commitment to residents and families Downtown. The more we can put educational activities and facilities Downtown the better it will be.”

The “Millennium High School” would initially enroll Downtown students, however, “If the capacity were greater than needed, then obviously students could come from the rest of the city. I would like to send the message that we are looking toward the future in the most tangible way. In particular, it will be a great signal that we want mixed-use in Lower Manhattan: families, business, arts, culture the memorial, all working in tandem to create the kind of invigorated area that is required.”

Clinton, speaking at the Regent Wall Street Hotel, touched on virtually every aspect of Downtown redevelopment including the World Trade Center Memorial, transportation and other infrastructure issues and the commitment of the financial services sector to Lower Manhattan.

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