The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to create an 11-member committee to push forward an initiative to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston after passing a bill during the summer to examine the feasibility of doing such.
Mass. Rep. Theodore Speliotis said the commission is looking at how the universities and colleges in and surrounding Boston, including Boston University, would benefit from hosting the Olympics.
“A university like BU can offer so much to an Olympics program in the ways of the new Agganis Arena and the stadium [Nickerson Field and New Balance Field],” he said. “There’s not even any certainty that that particular Olympic Games will be in the United States. But if it is in the United States, I think that we are in the top tier of communities to be considered.”
The commission, which is privately funded, will investigate all aspects of hosting the Olympics, including costs, infrastructure, transportation and security.
Mass. Sen. Eileen Donoghue, who sponsored the resolution through the Senate’s approval on July 30, said despite the significant expenses of the Olympics, the benefits outweigh the costs.
“When you look at the tourism aspects of the Olympics, not just during the weeks of the games but before and well after the games, it certainly would bring a huge benefit,” she said.
Donoghue said the U.S. Olympic Committee will narrow the list of potential cities sometime in 2014 of and then further by the end of 2014. Then, the cities will enter in the International Olympic Committee competition for the bid in 2015.
Maureen Keefe, race director of the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the world’s largest rowing events, said because Boston is used to hosting large sporting events, holding the Olympics would be feasible and would help build Boston’s infrastructure.
“I know the impact of large-scale athletic events on a city and I think that it would bring a lot of people to Boston,” she said. “We are strong in that we can create an infrastructure not only to support a worldwide event like that and to show off Boston to the rest of the world, but also hopefully whatever infrastructure we would build would sustain the city beyond the Olympics itself in different ways as far as venues, facilities and jobs.”
Thomas Downes, an economics professor at Tufts University, said hosting the Olympic games would be fiscally irresponsible for the city of Boston.
“Most of the evidence seems to be that the benefits are less than the cost,” he said. “Most economists would argue that it doesn’t make sense for cities to put in these bids for a mega-event like the Olympics.”
Some residents said they would enjoy seeing the 2024 Olympic games come to Boston.
David Wilson, 56, resident of Roslindale, said although there would be drawbacks to hosting the Olympics, it would be well worth the cost.
“I think the Summer Olympics coming to Boston would be fantastic,” he said. “I’m sure it would create quite a logistical nightmare in some respects, but this is a town that can overcome these sorts of things.”
Susan Reed, 37, resident of Hyde Park, said she is excited to see more specific plans for the possible games.
“If the Olympics were in Boston, it would be interesting to see what the city would do with it … in terms of money and infrastructure,” she said. “I want to hear what the commission comes up with.”
Richard Dobson, 51, resident of South Boston, said if the Olympics were in Boston, the games would bring benefits to residents in and out of the city.
“I would love to see the Olympics in Boston,” he said. “It would bring a lot of business and would be an exciting thing for the city, for the people living in it and around it.”