The New York Times story on transit riders who oppose putting tolls on the East River bridges reminds me of those stories in which puzzled liberal reporters go out to the Bible Belt and try to figure out why the folks there vote against their economic interests - the reporters don't understand the influence of religion and culture.
There isn't much understanding in the Manhattan-centric media of what the imposition of a toll on the Brooklyn Bridge means to many Brooklynites. The proposal is emblematic of the Manhattan-centered policymaking you get when you have a governor, mayor, council speaker and the head of one house of the State Legislature all from the little island of Manhattan.
I don't think it is a coincidence that the one major player opposed to the bridge tolls, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, is the only one from outside Manhattan. He understands the culture of the so-called "outer boroughs.
"Brooklynites traditionally end up on the short end of transit politics - the Brooklyn Eagle squawked about that even on the day the subway opened (in Manhattan in 1904).
We pay $10 to cross the Verrazzano Bridge and, because of the politics in Albany, much of that money goes to subsidize suburban commuter trains, not to keep transit fares down in Brooklyn.
Of the two toll bridges that lead to Brooklyn, in both cases, the people residing on the other side (Staten Island and Rockaway) get a generous break on the toll that is not available to Brooklyn residents. More Albany politics.
For my part, I am much more likely to take the subway into Manhattan than to drive. When I do drive on the weekend, I often pay the toll for the tunnel. Even so, I don't think there should be a toll on the East River bridges.
The real problem the transit fare faces is that Albany and City Hall have been cutting subsidies to mass transit for more than a decade. Besides, everyone knows that the price of the transit fare traditionally follows the price of a slice of pizza.