Will the MBTA Cause the Demise of 2024 Boston Olympics?

At a Suffolk University panel convened in Boston on March 17th, there was a discussion regarding two closely related subjects: improved infrastructure and the possibility of hosting the world’s Olympic Summer games in 2024.

This past December, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that the Olympics “allows us the opportunity to really talk to our partners in the state and federal government about upgrading the infrastructure that we have.” Additionally, a study by the state earlier in the year found that an Olympic bid would indeed be feasible.

The only problem? After a tough winter– as you may have heard, Boston had record snowfall at 107.6 inches– is estimated that the MBTA system has a backlog of $6.7 billion in needed work. With this amount of money needed, there aren’t many options.

One option would be to raise revenues or taxes. This could help not only solve existing problems, but tackle ones related to having a robust infrastructure for the upcoming Olympics. Current No Boston Olympics organizer and former MassDOT officer Chris Dempsey said that the pro-Olympics movement has objected to this.

Another option would be to simply address one issue or the other, leaving the other for future resolution. For better or worse, the Olympics would probably go by the wayside if it came down to this. While the Olympics could bring in extra revenue, it also can be a strain on the city, one that is not absolutely necessary.

The train stations that are already starting to undergo improvements include the Red and Orange line trains, along with the Government Center station. Incidentally, these renovations would also be needed if the Olympics were to take place. The expansion of South Station and upgrades on the JFK/UMass station would also be nearly necessary to host the Summer Olympics.

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