Someday the $1 billion National 9/11 Memorial and Museum will open. You'll see. And when that day comes, it's still going to be wickedly expensive. So expensive, in fact, that it could end up falling to taxpayers to keep it open. (At least until some corporation inevitably steps in for a naming rights deal. 7-Eleven September 11th Memorial, anyone?) The cost of operating the museum and memorial is estimated to soar to $60 million a year. The AP reports:

The anticipated cost has bothered some critics and raised concerns even among the memorial's allies that the budget may be unsustainable without a hefty government subsidy. By comparison, the National Park Service budgeted $8.4 million this year to operate and maintain Gettysburg National Military Park and $3.6 million for the monument that includes the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Running Arlington National Cemetery, which has more than 14,000 graves and receives 4 million visitors a year, costs $45 million annually.

Just operating the two massive fountains that mark the spots where the twin towers once stood will cost another $4.5 million to $5 million annually, said the foundation's spokesman, Michael Frazier... The foundation and several elected officials have proposed that the American public pick up one-third of the operating costs.

So far at least, that idea hasn't gone anywhere in Congress. But give it time—the museum still isn't even open yet. As we noted over the weekend, it was supposed to open tomorrow (or three years ago, depending on which naive estimate you prefer), but most construction on the project stopped a year ago because of a disagreement between Mayor Bloomerg and Governor Cuomo over who should pay the $150 million in infrastructure costs.

All told, the Port Authority's projects at the World Trade Center site are estimated to cost the agency $7.7 billion. And it's hard not to look at the shabby state of our local airports and wonder if its all worth it. Today the Wall Street Journal does just that, in a dismaying report detailing how the Port Authority's WTC expenditures "has meant that long-planned repairs and expansions at its other properties, especially at the area's three major airports, have been put on hold or scrapped altogether."

Motorists who commute to the city for work have borne the brunt of the costs with little to see for their high toll hikes on the bridges and tunnels. As Robert Boyle, the Port Authority's executive director from 1997 to 2001, tells the Journal, if not for the cost of rebuilding in Lower Manhattan, "they would be working on the terminal at La Guardia, I think they would be working on Terminal A at Newark. They definitely would already be doing the Goethals."