(Adam Andrzejewski, RealClear Wire) New York City is planning to spend $5.3 million to install high-tech toilets in public parks in each of the five boroughs. Those five toilets, however, cost less than $1 million to purchase, according to the New York Post.
Each toilet from Portland Loo only cost about $185,000, putting the total price tag at $925,000. The other $4 million in costs comes from high infrastructure costs and navigating the complex and bureaucratic installation process.
An NYC Parks Department representative told the New York Post that part of the reason for the steep costs is because the program intentionally chose locations without existing bathrooms, so new electric and water infrastructure needs to be created in these areas. Other installation costs include preparation work, laying a foundation, and erecting fencing.
New York City is notorious for its stringent and complex zoning and construction laws, which undoubtedly add to the total cost. A sales manager for the portable bathroom manufacturer that is leading this project told news outlet The City, “I built 180 of these, from Portland to Alaska to Miami, and I’ve never had this certification problem,” and added “New York City has been the most difficult to have a permit approved for.”
Despite still being in its early stages, the project seems doomed for delays and mismanagement. Already, an NYC official angrily contacted the toilet manufacturer in February of 2022, demanding answers as to why the toilets had not arrived yet, The City reported. The company informed this official that no order had ever actually been placed.
While cities have a wide variety of options on how to spend its taxpayers’ money to improve communities and services, one might think that investments in public safety, roads and bridges and streets and sanitation would top the list. NYC, however seems convinced that its top concern is toilets.