Newsom Might Flush San Francisco’s $1.7 Million Toilet Project

Newsom Might Flush San Francisco’s $1.7 Million Toilet Project

Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom has expressed dissatisfaction with San Francisco’s plan to construct a $1.7 million public toilet.

The governor will not provide the money for the project unless the city can come up with a better way to use the taxpayer dollars.

“A single, small bathroom should not cost $1.7 million,” Erin Mellon, a spokesperson for Newsom, told the San Francisco Chronicle in a statement last week. “The state will hold funding until San Francisco delivers a plan to use this public money more efficiently. If they cannot, we will go back to the legislature to revoke this appropriation.”

The plan for the bathroom led to public outrage last week after the Chronicle reported the exorbitant cost, as well as the fact that it wouldn’t be able to be used until 2025. It would fund one public bathroom, involving one toilet in a 150 square feet area.

Community members have been wanting a bathroom in the location. Assembly Member Matt Haney worked to get the funds in California’s annual budget this year, and Newsom’s office reportedly reached out to him the same day the story broke. 

“I support not spending the money — the cost is ridiculous, and it will take far too long,” Haney said Friday.

“Noe Valley should get a bathroom, but $1.7 million should pay for seven bathrooms, and it should happen much quicker,” Haney added. “I fully support and agree with the governor here, and we’re going to work together to get this done cheaper and quicker and also send the message that San Francisco needs to fix its broken processes.”

Haney was set to hold a celebratory event last week for the toilet, but canceled it after the plan backfired. Haney reached out to Recreation and Park Director Phil Ginsburg to request more details, and Ginsburg said it was the first time Haney had asked questions about it. Ginsburg said the increasing constructions prices and political decisions regarding codes resulted in the “long and expensive” plan. He also noted that other bathrooms have cost around the same amount.

The Chronicle also reported on the reason for the high cost, with “Rec and Park project management” accounting for $175,000 of the price tag, and “Architecture & engineering fees” coming in at $300,000.

The “Base construction contract” was the most expensive — at $750,000.

The city’s Recreation and Parks Department has said that the cost is because of high construction prices, and the “cost of planning, drawing, permits, reviews, public outreach and construction management.” 

“We estimate high — not because we want to spend more money but because we want to ensure we can deliver projects to communities even if we are hit with unexpected costs,” a spokesperson for the department told Fox News Digital.