In a bizarre case of government failure, taxpayers in New York City footed the bill for a brand new bathroom in their public park that cost a whopping $2 MILLION — and it took over 7 YEARS to construct — seriously.
While both the price and the construction time might make you think that this bathroom was an elaborate building with ornate features and state-of-the-art technology, it is actually nothing more than a 400-square-foot public restroom.
“I was expecting gold-plated fixtures! It’s just a toilet, a couple of urinals, a couple of sinks—2 million dollars?!” Journalist John Stossel remarked when visiting the bathroom in a segment for ReasonTV.
Even more incredulous was the response from New York City’s Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver, who told Stossel that the price for the bathroom in question was cheap compared to current estimates, which now stand at around $3 million.
“New York City is the most expensive place to build. 2 million was a good deal,” Silver said, insisting that while $2 million could also buy a nice house in the area, the city stands by its price. “We built these comfort stations to last… Look at the material we use compared to that of a home. These are very, very durable materials.”
David Greenfield, a Democratic councilman from Brooklyn, told CBS2 that he blames Mayor Bill de Blasio for the outrageous cost.
“The buck stops with the administration and at the end of the day, if the administration really made this their priority, they could figure out a way to cut the red tape,” Greenfield said, noting that because a complete house can be built in the area for $1 million, the city is “essentially wasting taxpayer money.”
And for all who thought I was exaggerating when I said this was a 400 square ft bathroom. Pls see photo of men's room: 1 toilet & 1 urinal! pic.twitter.com/goirGqxfOZ
— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) June 29, 2017
However, Stossel noted that a nearby public restroom in Bryant Park cost only $300,00 to build, and it “gets much more use.” He found that the major difference between the two came from the fact that “Bryant Park is privately managed.”
Public restrooms aren’t the only elements of parks that have been known to lead to outrageous government estimates. Last month, Adi Astl, a retired mechanic and resident of Toronto, spent $550 building a set of stairs for his community park.
However, the city’s estimate for the project ranged from $65,000 to $150,000. Astl told CTV News that after watching multiple people fall down the steep path to the park’s community garden, and waiting for the city to act, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
“To me, the safety of people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”
— CTV News (@CTVNews) July 20, 2017
The city of Toronto responded to Astl’s thoughtful act by tearing down the staircase, and insisting that its replacement will now cost at least $10,000 to build.
Stossel pointed out one fact many Americans have come to learn the hard way: “Everything costs more when government builds it.”
“Obamacare’s website was supposed to cost $464 million. It cost $834 million and still crashed.
Washington, D.C.’s Visitor Center rose in cost from $265 million to $621 million.
The Veterans Affairs medical center being built near Denver was projected to cost $590 million. Now they estimate $1.7 billion.”
One thing is certain—when government is involved, projects will never be handled in the most efficient way possible, the needs of the citizens will not be the first priority, and the private sector will always be a better option.