NEW YORK, N.Y. — Governor Cuomo has volunteered to use state funds to keep the Statue of Liberty open during the federal government shutdown.
In an announcement Sunday afternoon, Gov. Cuomo said Lady Liberty “will be back to work tomorrow.”
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island within the territorial jurisdiction of New York, but is federal property administered by the National Park Service. When the Senate failed to approve legislation to keep the government from shutting down before midnight Saturday, the National Park Service announced that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would close immediately until further notice.
“I’m volunteering that the state will pay to keep the Statue of Liberty open because it is the symbol of our nation,” Cuomo said.
The governor assured that keeping the site open will not be an extravagant cost for the state because it is a popular tourist destination. According to the governor, it will be a “good investment” for the state because the revenue gained from tourists and visitors is multiples of what it would cost to pay to open Lady Liberty. “We will pay to keep the Statue of Liberty open every day.”
“[Tourists] come here, they want to see the Statue of Liberty, many of them are here already and that was part of their trip. So the cost is justified just from a tourism point of view,” he said.
Cuomo says the sites are vital to the state’s tourism industry, so the state will spend about $65,000 per day for the federal employees who operate the sites. He says the revenue gained more than offsets the costs.
He says the state will pay for the duration of the shutdown, and the sites will be open every day.
New York had the same arrangement in 2013, during the last government shutdown.
Associated Press contributed to this report.