The New York Times has a news article about the Bloomberg administration in New York City spending $325 million taxpayer dollars ($100 million for land acquisition, $175 million on "a toxic cleanup of the site, a 10-acre park, roads and water and sewer lines," and "$50 million in grants to subsidize the affordable units") on 908 rental apartments in Queens, "at least 685 of which will be set aside for working- and middle-class families earning $32,000 to $130,000 a year."
The Times doesn't take readers through the math, but if you work it out, $325 million divided by 685 "affordable units" amounts to $474,452.56 for each unit. I know plenty of New York City families earning $130,000 a year who would be happy to accept a subsidy of even less than that — say, $300,000 — and take the money, combine it with savings or a mortgage, and buy a house in New Jersey or Connecticut, or on Long Island or in Westchester.
The whole effort seems bizarre, especially since Queens is a place supposedly so financially strapped that the public library system has stopped buying new books. Why should millions of New York City taxpayers living in market-rate housing who earn less than $130,000 a year be taxed to subsidize a new apartment for some family earning $130,000 a year? The Bloomberg people will doubtless say the city will come out ahead long term because of the income and property tax revenue from keeping 685 families in the city who otherwise might have left. But what about the people who read about this sort of thing and decide it's so ridiculous they want to move away to somewhere more sane?
The Times article doesn't quote anyone saying that this may not be such a good idea.