Amid widespread backlash, San Francisco city officials this week canceled an event celebrating the funding of a new public toilet, which will cost nearly $2 million and take two years to build.
The labyrinthine approval process and eye-watering cost are a “good summary of everything wrong with San Francisco’s regulatory environment,” National Review enterprise reporter Ryan Mills quipped in a recent analysis.
The estimated price tag of the single toilet, which is located in a 150-square-foot public bathroom within a plaza in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood, is $1.7 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
- The toilet won’t be complete until 2025, thanks in large part to a slew of bureaucratic approval requirements.
WHY DOES IT COST SO MUCH?
According to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the seven-figure price tag is due to inflation in the price of construction materials and wages, as well as the “cost of building” in San Francisco.
- Adding to the cost and length of the project are a multi-stage review and approval process involving the municipal Arts Commission, which is composed of three architects, a landscape architect, and two other design professionals.
- Before the commode can be built, the entire project must undergo a review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- The city has said the $1.7 million estimate for the cost to build the toilet “is extremely rough.”
“They told me $1.7 million, and I got $1.7 million,” California Assemblyman Matt Haney, who secured funding for the toilet, told the Chronicle. “I didn’t have the option of bringing home less of the bacon when it comes to building a toilet. A half a toilet or a toilet-maybe-someday is not much use to anyone.”