BOSTON (CBS) — Mayor Marty Walsh says hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics could do wonders for Boston’s public transportation, infrastructure and tourism, but he’s also concerned about how the city would pay for it.
In an interview on WBZ NightSide With Dan Rea, Walsh discussed Boston’s Olympic bid, which was submitted to the United States Olympic Committee last week.
Walsh said that he’s thinking about what kind of city Boston will be in 2030 as it marks its 400th anniversary.
“We really have to look at the public transportation and infrastructure,” Walsh said. “What the Olympics does is fast-track that, it allows us the opportunity to really talk to our partners in the state and federal government about upgrading the infrastructure that we have.”
Boston is competing against Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. to be the U.S. candidate for the games, which should be decided early next year. The International Olympic Committee would likely name the winning city for the games sometime in 2017, and Walsh said Boston would benefit even if it’s not ultimately chosen.
“If we get to the next round, we get a chance to market the city around the world,” Walsh said. “Using a sporting event is an opportunity for me to open doors for Boston on a worldwide stage.”
Critics of Boston’s bid say Massachusetts taxpayers will have to foot the $10 billion to $20 billion bill for the games and there’s no evidence that they give an economic boost to host cities. Walsh also said he’d see a problem “if the city of Boston had to make a major investment in guaranteeing the Olympics would not go bust.”
“I’m not willing to do that, I’m not willing to mortgage the future of the city,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he’d look to private business partners in the city for help, and said there’d be benefits for Boston’s housing efforts and parks. About 6,000 housing units would be needed for an Olympic Village for athletes.
“Those units are then dispersed around the city of Boston once it’s done, so it helps us with a housing plan,” Walsh said.
Walsh said potential Olympic venues like Boston Common and the golf course at Franklin Park would also see an upgrade if Boston hosted the games.
“Those all get restored to better than they were when we went in there,” Walsh said. “There’s really an opportunity here.”
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