BOSTON (CBS) – Like it or not, supporters of bringing the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to Boston do have a case to make, even if they haven’t made it very well so far.
There are some aging, underutilized areas of the city and its infrastructure that could use a redevelopment jolt, opening up all sorts of revenue-producing possibilities and turning Boston into even more of a magnet for investment and tourism than it already is.
If that sounds familiar, maybe that’s because it’s roughly the same argument used back in the day by advocates for the Big Dig.
But that analogy cuts both ways.
As much as we love our third harbor tunnel and appreciate the impact of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, we also continue to suffer from the way the Big Dig drained resources from the rest of our transportation infrastructure and left us burdened with crushing debt.
And that’s why I was stunned to walk into a Boston Olympics forum at Suffolk University Tuesday and see, up on the panel as a guest expert, none other than Peter Zuk, who was project director of the Big Dig during its prime years of cost-overruns and managerial ineptitude. Big Dig management’s chronic lying about all of that led to the feds bailing out of their cost-sharing, which in turn dramatically worsened the financial damage to us.
It turns out Mr. Zuk, apparently unscathed by his atrocious failure, went on to become a consultant to the 2012 London Olympics, and Tuesday he reassured the crowd that we “know” what a Boston Olympics will cost “in a way we did not on the Central Artery project.”
I don’t think so.
And until the Olympic boosters deal with the suspicion that this is Big Dig, Part Two, they’re going nowhere, fast.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.