BOSTON (AP) — It would be one thing to persuade the International Olympic Committee to choose Boston over other powerhouse world cities to host the 2024 Summer Games. But it’s quite another to win over a skeptical populace in its own backyard.
“We have to dream big,” Richard Davey, the chief executive of Boston 2024, the group spearheading the city’s bid, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Since the euphoria of being chosen as the U.S. bid city in January, the road has turned bumpy for organizers.
Controversy arose over the disclosure of six-figure salaries for several of the privately financed group’s executives, and even more over a consulting arrangement with former Gov. Deval Patrick that called for a $7,500 daily fee for him to travel overseas to promote the Olympic effort. Patrick has since announced he’ll forgo the consulting gig.
The current governor, Charlie Baker, cited “unanswered questions” about the Olympic plan and legislative leaders are steadfastly opposed to any state funds to offset operating costs.
A winter of record-setting snow exposed serious weaknesses in the region’s aging transit system, leading some critics to question how it could ever handle Olympic crowds.
Amid such developments, a poll conducted last week for WBUR-FM of more than 500 registered Boston-area voters showed only about 36 percent support bringing the games to Boston.
Davey, a former state transportation secretary, is no stranger to the challenges that often lie at the intersection of public policy and private pursuit. He remains confident that organizers can ultimately win local backing, present a bid worthy of IOC consideration and stage a successful Olympics that will pump billions into the state economy and showcase Boston to the world.
Copyright 2015 Associated Press