Boston 2024 Olympics Organizers Update $4.6B Bid
BOSTON (AP) —The group trying to bring the 2024 Olympics to Boston released the most detailed look yet at its bid for the Summer Games on Monday, unveiling a $4.6 billion plan it says would create jobs and housing, expand the tax base and leave behind an improved city with a $210 million surplus.
The announcement was designed to answer critics who say the privately funded Boston 2024 has withheld details of the bid to prevent the public from assessing whether the games could be staged, as promised, without the need for taxpayer money.
Bid chairman Steve Pagliuca, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics, said "Bid 2.0" is a more in-depth version of the "proof of concept" that convinced the USOC to pick Boston in January over competing proposals from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.
"We've now done the 'little-picture' thinking," Pagliuca said. "We think we've made the major leaps."
But local Olympics opponents said the latest version of the plan still fails to guarantee taxpayers won't foot the bill in the event of cost overruns or revenue shortfalls.
Chris Dempsey, co-chairman of the No Boston Olympics group, said more details are still needed on the insurance plan that organizers promise will protect taxpayer interests.
"They still have not explained why city of Boston taxpayers need to take the risk and sign a blank check," he said.
Earlier Monday, Pagliuca and other Boston 2024 organizers discussed an estimated $128 million, "multi-layer" insurance package. The package would include an umbrella policy to cover a range of contingencies and individual policies for venue projects.
Pagliuca promised more details would be forthcoming on the insurance coverage.
"From the way we're looking at it, we've got four layers of protection," he said. "There is very little risk that these insurances won't cover every issue that can happen."
The bid has stumbled since getting the nod from the USOC, with local opposition and low poll numbers forcing organizers to spread some venues across the state to gain political support the bid couldn't muster inside the city.
About half of the 32 venues have been relocated or otherwise shuffled since the original plan was announced. Pagliuca said the proposed games would still be among the most compact in Olympics history, with 23 of the venues inside a small radius.
Organizers now estimate the games will produce at least $4.8 billion in revenues from television broadcast rights, tickets sales, corporate sponsorships and other revenues like promotions.
They assume nearly $4.6 billion in costs, including $754 million to build Olympic venues.
Pagliuca said the estimates are generous on spending projections and conservative on revenue estimations.
Organizers also touted the long term legacies the Olympics would leave behind, including 8,000 total units of housing: 4,000 at the site of the former athlete's village and another 4,000 in a newly-created neighborhood at the side of the temporary, 69,000-seat main stadium.
Organizers say the Olympics will create 4,100 construction jobs over about five years starting in 2014; 54,300 jobs during the operation of the games and about 2,200 post-Olympics jobs.
Tax revenues from the site of the Olympic stadium would rise from a current value of less than $1 million per year to $7 million annually in 2030 and 32 million a decade after that.
Improvements needed for Boston's oft-maligned public transportation independent of the Summer Games would be sufficient to accommodate the needs of the Olympics.
Although the Olympic movement has been wounded by pictures of unused venues falling into disrepair or sapping the budgets of former host cities, Boston organizers say they can stage the 2024 games without white elephants. In its Agenda 2020, the IOC has relaxed the rules that led to some of the more costly and unsustainable construction.
Pagliuca said the group looked closely at the Olympics in London, Salt Lake, Atlanta, Barcelona and Los Angeles.
"Even without the 2020 agenda, which has reduced the cost of the Olympics, the U.S. games have all come out with a cash surplus," he said. "When you go to those cities, the people, the politicians, the vast majority of them say this was a transformative event for the city."
Boston 2024 opponents say the surplus can only be found with creative accounting that takes some Olympic-related costs off the books. And even the most optimistic view of the "privately funded" Boston Games would require billions in public infrastructure and security expenditures.
Opponents agree with many of the ideas to improve the city, but argue that they can be achieved more effectively and efficiently without tying them to the Olympics.
But Boston 2024 says the attention and the deadlines that come with a major project like the Olympics would motivate the city to accomplish long-delayed projects. Among the legacies of the Summer Games would be a completed Emerald Necklace — fulfilling the 19th Century vision of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead of an unbroken ring of green space through the city's neighborhoods.
The Olympics would leave behind a permanent, 2.3-mile corridor of green space and link Franklin Park, the proposed home of the equestrian and modern pentathlon venues, with the athlete's village at UMass-Boston.
"We have the opportunity to really be the catalyst for finishing this," lead architect David Manfredi said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports:
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