By Jacob Blank
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are rolling around the corner, yet it isn’t the Olympics that are making headlines this month. After some debate, the United States Olympic Committee has selected Boston as America’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Starting with 35 cities, the committee slowly eliminated those deemed unfit for hosting the games. In June of 2014 there were four finalists, which included Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Just recently, Boston was chosen as the winning city.
So why Boston? For one, the Olympic Committee said that Boston is a walkable city. After visiting there once before, I can attest to this. The Center City and Back Bay areas are walkable, but the Olympic stadiums and venues will be positioned far from the city’s center. Although, there is a public transportation system reaching out to the edges of the city, it needs significant improvement. In addition, the city’s infrastructure needs improvement as well. The roads, bridges, and airports of Boston would all need to be changed in order to become compatible with the large number of tourists staying in the area.
Bostonians who support hosting the games say that the Olympics will create a deadline for the city to get work done and that the construction will be important to the future of Boston. The citizens of Boston have also said that the city is in need of construction improvement projects, and the Olympics are a reason to do so.
After news came out that Boston was chosen as the America’s bid for the games, there was also immediate opposition to the decision. Not only Bostonians, but Americans questioned why the Olympic Committee would choose Boston as its bid for the Olympics. I was somewhat astonished myself. I have been to all three of the finalist cities and they are all spectacular, as well as larger than Boston. Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, has beautiful weather and the facilities, Washington D.C. has the infrastructure, and San Francisco has surrounding cities that could assist in hosting the games.
Sadly, there are more reasons why Boston shouldn’t host and why one of the other finalist cities should. The greatest problem with hosting the games is the cost. The budget for the Olympics in Boston has been set at $4.5 billion dollars, yet other cities in the past have set budgets and have been left with multi-billion dollars in debt. In reality, Boston would not be financially prepared to take on such a great responsibility. In my opinion, being chosen to host the Olympics is an honor, yet paying for the expenses for a span of fourteen days is a waste. Yes, there are those saying that the time and effort will be important to the city’s future after 2024, but without those willing to pay for the cost, the expenses will be paid by tax dollars. As far as I know this is not in Boston’s best interest.
Right now a private group, Boston 2024 Partnership, is willing to pay for the games, but then again construction hasn’t even begun. In the end, somebody will have to pay for the immense cost, assuming the U.S. wins their bid.