Our Opinion: Right call to end Boston's Olympics bid

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While the demise of Boston's Olympics bid is a bit of an embarrassment, it would have been a far bigger embarrassment had the Olympics gone forward and failed. That scenario had become increasingly likely.

The city and the U.S. Olympic Committee severed their ties Monday not long after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a press conference that he would not be pressured into signing a contract that puts the city on the hook for any cost overruns for the 2024 games. That, along with Governor Charlie Baker's refusal to pledge his support for the games until a consultant's report emerges next month, spelled the end of Boston's bid.

Neither the mayor or governor could guarantee public money for the Olympics in light of polls indicating taxpayer apathy if not opposition to the Olympics being held in the city. Residents not only know that the Olympics have a history of cost overruns they also remember the Big Dig boondoggle in Boston that took years longer than expected to complete and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

There was also skepticism that Boston, a small city geographically with nightmarish traffic problems, could serve efficiently as host of such a huge enterprise as the Olympics. While there was talk of moving some events elsewhere in the state or region, there was no tangible progress on that front.

The leadership of Boston 2024, the private bidding group, not only failed to allay those concerns it increased them with a secretive, vague approach, and a shake-up of the management team failed to remove public skepticism. While a Boston Olympics had potential for success, the potential for failure was larger and would have impacted the entire state. Boston and the IOC made the right decision to pull the plug.



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