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Keller @ Large: Persuading Gov. Baker Key For Boston 2024 Supporters

BOSTON (CBS) – Organizers of Boston's effort to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games have an uphill battle on their hands.

And based on his comments during a one-on-one interview with WBZ-TV on Thursday, persuading Governor Charlie Baker of the merits of bringing the Olympics to the region may be one of their tougher tasks.

Does Baker buy the core argument of Boston2024, organizers of the Olympic bid, that winning the Games would generate needed momentum for infrastructure improvements and development that we need whether or not we host the Olympics?

"Not exactly," says Baker, who says he wants specific answers from the organizers about where major venues will be built, who will build them how they will impact the community, and perhaps most importantly, how they will be financed.

In a sign of his growing impatience, the governor revealed today that he has asked a local real estate firm "to start doing some analysis for us on this because we think those are really important questions and they need to be answered sooner rather than later."

On another major item atop his agenda, Gov. Baker says he'll withhold any specific decisions about how to fix the MBTA until after he receives recommendations from the special commission he appointed last month.

But in the wake of two separate independent reports proposing a dramatic shakeup of the troubled agency – including highly-controversial moves like privatizing certain T functions and seizing direct gubernatorial control over the system – Baker cited a two-year old indictment of T bus maintenance practices that hints at the depth of his disgust with their status quo.

"[Former state Inspector General turned Pioneer Institute research director] Greg Sullivan released a report saying you could save $50 million a year on bus maintenance if you simply spent as much as the city of Minneapolis spent," said Baker. "Snowy winters, same size fleet, and no one has ever been able to explain what's wrong with Greg's report, so it raises a whole bunch of legitimate issues."

The governor also discussed efforts to lift the cap on public charter schools, his recent shakeup of the state Health Connector Board, and his plans to campaign for GOP legislative candidates in 2016 during the interview, which airs Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. on WBZ TV.

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