The High Cost of Free Riders

Whenever the prospect of funding our transit system with bridge tolls or congestion pricing arises, you can count on a hue and cry from aggrieved motorists about subsidizing other people's commutes. But if the bridges stay free, who's really paying for somebody else's ride? Today's Times story about the last phase of Manhattan Bridge reconstruction is a welcome reminder that the city's bridges are already costly:

All told, about $830 million has been spent repairing the bridge, which suffered from neglect during the city’s financial crisis in the 1970s, said Brian Gill, the chief engineer of Manhattan Bridge reconstruction for the Transportation Department.

As long as there's no price on these bridges, we all pay for those free rides.