Los Angeles is Spending $16 Million on a Bridge That Was Supposed to be Free

Los Angeles is planning to spend $16 million on a bridge for horses.

The Atwater Bridge was supposed to be a free gift to the city from a philanthropic investor. Via Reason:

If you think the Los Angeles city government can manage your tax dollars wisely, I have a bridge to give you.

Last month, the city agreed to move ahead with funding a $16.2 million equestrian bridge. It was originally supposed to cost less than $4 million, and a private donation was supposed to cover the whole thing.

“Here we are, at this 11th hour, with a $16.12 million bridge that the community didn’t really ask for,” City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell saidat a May hearing on the project, shortly before voting to fund it.

The bridge will connect horse stables in North Atwater on the eastern bank of the Los Angeles River to a trail system in Griffith Park on the opposite side. Right now, horses and riders have to wade across the river.

The project got its start in 2010, when real estate developer Morton La Kretz offered to pay for it. He estimated the bridge would cost around $3.67 million. The City Council graciously accepted La Kretz’s offer the following year.