Stossel: $2 Million Bathroom
Here it is! This little building is a $2 million dollar bathroom $2 million dollars? I had to check it out. I was expecting gold plated fixtures. It’s just a toilet, a couple urinals, 2 sinks. $2 million dollars? Do the people who use the park know what taxpayers paid for their bathroom? What do you think this cost? A couple thousand. $70,000? Approximately $100,000 maybe They spent $2 million dollars For this? Unbelievable. Wow Wow You could buy a nice house here for $2 million dollars. For that price, yeah, you could buy a big house here You can! This nearby house was advertised for much less. It has 6 bedrooms! In the millions, for this? This is ridiculous. Where’s the money go? Good question. Everything costs more when government builds it. Washington, D.C.’s Visitor Center was supposed to cost $265 million, it ended up costing $621 million. The Veterans Affairs medical center near Denver was projected to cost $590 million. Now they estimate $1.7 billion. Government spends more because every decision is tied up in endless rules. Minority outreach. Wheelchair access. Zoning rules. And much more. Your department puts out a statement current estimate to build a new bathroom is 3 million dollars It is now approaching in some cases going over 3 million. Mitchell Silver is New York’s Parks Commissioner. This is the most expensive market in the world. So $2 million was a good deal here? $2million was a good deal. We built these comfort stations to last. But you can buy whole houses in that neighborhood for less than what you spent on this bathroom I hear that point often and If you look at the material we use compared to a home these are very, very durable material. That’s nice. But this bathroom is made of durable materials too. It’s so beautiful that a newspaper said it might be the fanciest in New York. Yet it cost one fifth as much as much. Why? Well, it’s in nearby Bryant Park, and Bryant Park is privately managed. Bryant Park built one with just as many sinks and toilets for a fifth the price Bryant Park did a renovation. When we build our comfort stations we do it from the ground up. But why? Why’d they knock down the old one down? It just looks like the same thing. Commissioner Silver says this has to be especially sturdy, because… We’re going to expect thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of visitors in that facility over its life cycle. But privately run Bryant Park gets more use. No comparison. It’s so busy people wait in line to get in. Yet another reason government work costs more is that government pays more. We pay prevailing wage. Prevailing wage? Prevailing wage. Union wage. This is a city that does believe strongly in labor and they want to make sure that people get paid prevailing wage. Prevailing wage turns out to mean union wages. Sometimes more than 100 dollars an hour. That makes everything cost more. And when we watched the workers didn’t seem to work very hard. The final reason this so much is that it took years to build it. It took less time to build the Empire state building. We’ve now saved 5 months out of what used to be 4 years, 5 years for a project. now doing them 3 years, in some cases under. So we shaved 5 years off. Whoop dee do. So it’s 5 years, 4 ½ years? That’s still terrible We’re actually 3 years and now we just finished one of our projects in under 3 years. Why does it take you 3 years to build a bathroom? We have a process that includes design, procurement and construction. But so does the private sector Ours because it’s a public project we believe very strongly in engaging the public, “Engaging the public” means things like
the city planning department’s “uniform land use review procedure.” Try doing something quickly while following these rules. Clearly the private sector does not have to go through the same process. And this is a good thing, the public process? All these meetings? Oh yes it’s a good thing. That’s a ridiculous amount of money. One little building $2 million dollars That’s government at work.