Boston's Ride, Or Thanks But No Thanks, Olympic Committee
What do you give a city that has everything? Maybe not the Olympic Games.
This week the city of Boston declined to sign what's called a host city contract that would make it liable to pay for any losses incurred by the Olympics, which effectively ended its bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk," said Mayor Martin Walsh, who had wanted the games for Boston. But spending by host cities has grown to be colossal in recent years. The costs for Sochi, Russia, to host the Winter Olympics last year have vaulted past $50 billion.
The Olympics are often presented as a chance to enrich a city with new public spending. But Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart, the Oxford economists, point out that every Olympics since 1960 has gone above budget an average of 179 percent. They call the Olympics "one of the most financially risky type of mega projects that exists, something that many cities and nations have learned to their peril."
Mayor Walsh of Boston said, "no benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our city."
So with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
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