Boston 2024 CEO Davey: ‘We’re Not Going to Use Taxpayer Dollars’
Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey appeared on WEEI’s morning drive program Dennis & Callahan Tuesday to discuss the state of the Olympics bid, and reiterated what organizers have emphasized to assuage critics’ fear of getting stuck with the bill–that taxpayer dollars would not be needed to finance the Games.
“We’ve got to convince people that we’re not going to use taxpayer dollars for venues and operations,” Davey told co-host Kirk Minihane. “Those are right questions. Other governments do that. We haven’t produced a detailed plan yet. We’re going to in the next couple months, so then you guys could pore over it and rip it and give us feedback. But we’re confident that we could do that.”
“I know you’ve got traffic and other concerns we could talk about too, but the No. 1 piece we need to assure people of is we’re not going to use taxpayer dollars,” Davey said.
“But I don’t believe that, though,” a skeptical Gerry Callahan said.
Davey put a price tag on the entire venture: $9 billion, including $1 billion for security, which he admitted would be funded through federal taxpayer dollars. The rest–$8 billion for “games operations”–would be privately funded through television revenue, ticket sales, and corporate and private sponsorships, Davey said.
“You’re going to privately fund $8 billion?” Minihane said.
It’s important to note Davey’s qualification: Boston 2024 will not require taxpayer dollars for venues and operations. The bid will, however, require an estimated $1 billion in security costs from federal taxpayers, a few of which reside in Boston. As Davey notes, the United States faces security costs no matter where the Olympics are held, albeit a smaller financial burden if Paris, Hamburg, or Rome are selected.
Besides, it’s getting to the venues that still needs work, and will require state and city taxpayer dollars to fix, according to Mayor Marty Walsh.
“We’re absolutely going to need state and probably city money for infrastructure,” Walsh told the Dorchester Reporter in April. “And some would probably come from [a] bond bill, but there’ll probably need to be another appropriation.” Walsh added that Kosciuszko Circle, an essential, often clogged artery in Dorchester, would require reconstruction if the Olympic Village were erected on the current site of the nearby Bayside Expo Center.
“We’re actually not proposing to do much construction, relative to the games,” Davey told D&C, noting that both traffic and MBTA ridership decreases in July and August by roughly 6 percent.”The big construction projects will be over–potentially–at UMass Boston, where we want to put the athletes’ village, off of Morrissey Boulevard and away from any kind of traffic impacts, and Widett Circle … that spot of the city as well would be part.”
The interview begins with Callahan asking Davey if recruiting former Gov. Deval Patrick for a per-diem rate of $7,500 was “the biggest mistake you guys have made?”
“Yeah, it didn’t work out,” Davey said. “It’s worked out now. He’s going to be part of the team without getting paid. The governor we think will be a great ambassador internationally for sure. He’s well-liked and we’ll use him strategically when we’re on the road.”
Listen to the full interview here.