Transportation officials spend $100k on private bathroom

Recent reports from WCVB/Channel 5 and MassLive show that state officials spent over $100,000 of taxpayer money on a private bathroom for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The bathroom and kitchenette for use by transportation officials were requested to be completed “as expeditiously as possible” for State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and were treated as an emergency project, bypassing the usual state-mandated competitive bidding process.

Reports of the $100,000 “emergency” private bathroom come as the state claims they are strapped for cash and simply cannot invest a penny more in public transit. This is all despite a public restroom being within steps from the MA Transportation Board Room.

According to WCVB/Channel 5 who first reported on the issue, the bathroom was built to essentially avoid interaction with the public. While we don’t tend to agree with Pioneer Institute on much, in this case they are on the right side of things — this was a gross misuse of taxpayer money and points to need for a competitive bidding process.

As a point of comparison WCVB/Channel 5 pointed to the MA Transportation Board Room itself:

5 Investigates compared it to another MassDOT project in the building — the new MassDOT/MBTA board room and offices – which was put out to bid.

That project covered a large area – 11,000 square feet – and cost taxpayers $500,000. The bathroom and kitchenette project was only 115 square feet and cost taxpayers more than $100,000.

Compare the per-square-foot construction costs for the two projects: For the board room and offices it was $42.50 per square foot. For the half-bath and kitchenette, it was $870 per square foot.

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