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Editorial: Why not an Olympics bid for Boston, New England?

Between Medicaid expansion and renewed efforts to repeal the death penalty, legalize a casino and amend the state Constitution regarding education funding, New Hampshire lawmakers will have no shortage of weighty matters to consider over the coming weeks and months.

To these hard questions, let us add one that’s a little more fun to wrestle with: Should New Hampshire get behind a nascent effort to bring the Olympics and Paralympics to Boston in 2024? Our view: It’s worth some serious consideration.

Officials in Massachusetts are earnestly discussing whether to submit a bid for what would be the first summer games held in the United States since the Atlanta games in 1996. Boston isn’t the only American city with an interest, and American cities aren’t the only ones in play. But the city – and, more broadly, the region – could no doubt make a convincing case for itself.

Boston and New England are clearly sports-crazed, and there are already some big-time players in the region’s sports world, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca, supporting the effort. The city and the region are already home to numerous sports venues that could do double-duty for the Olympics. Perhaps more important, the project has the support of Mitt Romney who, whatever you think of his politics, has already shown the Olympics pooh-bahs that he knows how to pull off a massive undertaking of this nature. His Salt Lake City games in 2002 were widely considered a big success, and he has signed on as an adviser to the Boston effort.

The enormous up-front costs, the headache of the inevitable related construction and the significant concerns about security are real, but consider, too, the potential for short- and long-term benefits for the region, including New Hampshire.

For starters, it’s possible that organizers would look north for help hosting an Olympic event or two. The southern part of the state, particularly, isn’t too terrible a schlep from Boston, and it would put New Hampshire, momentarily, at the center of the universe for something other than presidential politics.

Additionally, to make the Olympics function smoothly, there will no doubt be call for a more modern transportation infrastructure. This could be true even beyond Boston. In fact, advocates for passenger train service between Concord and Boston might just have a new and urgent argument: Making it easier for tourists to get back and forth from New Hampshire to Boston during the games would ease congestion in the city and allow New Hampshire’s hotels and restaurants to help cater to the crowds.

Even without a Concord train, there would no doubt be visitors looking for cheaper digs than those right in and around Boston. And regardless of where they were staying, some visitors would likely be looking for a little entertainment or sightseeing (with or without a casino!) in between Olympic events. New Hampshire’s hospitality industry and the Manchester airport would have much to gain.

New Hampshire doesn’t necessarily need to sign on as a co-sponsor and assume the financial risk it would involve. But the state would no doubt benefit from the Olympics should they land in Boston. Helping make that possible might just be in everyone’s interest.

Legacy Comments13

Yes the 1984 summer games did indeed show a strong profit but that won't be the case here. The 1984 games were able to use existing venues and refurbish others and little was needed in infrastructure costs. The world of 1984 is no longer the world we live in tho. Infrastructure costs and security would be prohibitive in NE. The 1976 winter games in Montreal ended with so much debt that taxpayers were still paying off that debt in 2004. I fear that any NE games would not be the financial windfall one would dream of.

Montreal is still using the modular dormitories they built as public housing. The stadium is still used for sporting venues as are almost all of the other venues specifically built for that Olympics. The sailing venue on Lake Ontario at Kingston is still vibrant. What a novel idea - pay for what they use

Don't disagree with you at all concerning Montreal. My comment was just to mention that Canadians were still paying off the costs 28 years after the games. I just don't see the Olympics as a surefire windfall, especially for NH. No such thing as easy money anymore.

do you have a 30 year mortgage on your house? - refinancing public works bonds is legendary...... Mass Turnpike bonds will never ever be retired and it is a lot older than 28 years

Let me make sure I understand - are you advocating for taxpayer money to go to building infrastructure for the Olympics?

I agree with you, Jim, when you state that, "If private business wants to build the venues, roads, apartment buildings, pay for security and build the new railroad, fine let them do it. They can keep the profits from ticket sales and then rent the apt./venues out and keep the profits from the railroad too. Every Congressional member should be screaming to let Capitalism work – or do they actually prefer the pork barrel spending programs for their personal gain???" Every Congressperson SHOULD be screaming to let the free market work!!! I fully support passenger rail service between Concord and Boston... it would bring a boom of transit oriented development along the railroad line and if done as a private-public partnership, would lead to an economic boom for the entire Concord-Boston line.

""has the support of Mitt Romney"" -- that makes one laugh out loud. A number of REPUBLICAN congressional leaders stated Mitt Romney's running of the Olympic build was the worse fleecing of the US tax treasury they had ever seen. Do we really have another $1.5 Billion for games. NO Olympics has ever even come close to breaking even (cost vs. return). It is just another short term boom for business at the tax payers expense. If private business wants to build the venues, roads, apartment buildings, pay for security and build the new railroad, fine let them do it. They can keep the profits from ticket sales and then rent the apt./venues out and keep the profits from the railroad too. Every Congressional member should be screaming to let Capitalism work – or do they actually prefer the pork barrel spending programs for their personal gain???

Jim's extremely slanted account of the Romney Olympics is legendary leftist politics. The 2002 Olympics came just months after the 9/11 World Trade Center crisis. Jim's "Fleecing of the taxpayers" is what normal people call the cost of overnight flawless beefed up security required by the WORLD before they would allow the Olympics to operate. That was all heroically accomplished by the perfect management of Romney. BTW Peter Uberoth's Olympics did make money.....or you could believe Jim's version.

I could not find anything that said the 84 Olympics even broke even, but I will believe you. Of course you fail to mention that Los Angeles, the state of California and the government of the United States all announced that no public money would be spent. So that would give my argument even more credit - no tax dollars and it could be possible. You will have to ask John McCain, former Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. and Rick Santorum to name a few on their comments about Romney spending of the US tax payers dollars for his Olympic build and the firms that got the money. I think they were actually there seeing it firsthand.... It does hurt when one's own party members call a fellow party member out on their methods, but those are the facts and regardless of the party I hope some are brave enough to do it.

FYI - I have a personal knowledge of Olympic Competition:"Games produced a healthy profit of USD 223 million and became the model for future Games." They re-used most all of the 1932 venues. Quoting Romney's political enemy's is priceless but very poorly informed. QUOTE "The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City generated a whopping $56-million overall surplus, organizers will announce" Romney was brought in to stop the hemorrhaging as the 2002 venture was $350Million in the red when he took over. The US Govt did indeed have input but that came after the 911 crisis.

Sail, I already said I would believe you about the 84 games but your profits noted for 02 games were reported as profits if the government tax payer money was not counted against cost. To use tax money and then report your profits but don't count the tax money is not the truth. Your posts constantly call others uninformed and here you are trying to keep people uniformed by twisting and playing with numbers to try to make a money losing project into something that looks good. Are you calling those Republicans that made the statements all "liars"?? I'm all for the Olympics, just use private money and they can keep the profits. PS, if we don’t count spent tax dollars into the equation I would say the US Government working perfect and is making huge profits with taxes brought in!

you are poorly informed - the 2002 Olympics were on track to be self financed after Romney was brought in to re-organize it. Romney closed offices slashed staff and even charged $1 a slice for pizza at board meetings. Govt money was only used for the additional security mandated by the WORLD after the 9-11 crisis. I too agree with private financing but the enemy politicians of Romney are a really poor source for information.

$645 million for new highways and roads, including a repaved mountain road to the Snow Basin ski resort, owned by a wealthy local oilman. Hundreds of millions for light rail, parking lots, bus rentals, sewer construction, housing for the news media and weather forecasting — in ADDITION to $161 million for security (a figure that climbed even higher after 9/11.)……… Romney himself is quoted as directing his chief Washington lobbyist “to bring in more federal funding than had ever been appropriated for any Olympics, summer or winter.” When he ran for governor of Massachusetts he (Romney) stated “I was successful in organizing the Olympics, got record funds from the federal government." Romney defended his government spending by saying “Recognizing that our government spends billions of dollars to maintain wartime capability, it is entirely appropriate to invest several hundred million dollars to promote peace.” Those were HIS words, HE is admitting what he was doing – NOT other Republican party members……. Facts.

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