Gov. Deval Patrick gave his qualified support to Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics in a speech at the 27th annual Governor’s Travel and Tourism Conference on Thursday afternoon.
“I think the Olympic bid is wicked exciting,” Patrick said to the packed room of the state’s travel and tourism advocates at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Patrick made it clear his support is contingent on private investment: “I don’t think it should involve public investment in venues.” He also said the Olympics offered a “catalyst” to improve the state’s infrastructure, including South Coast Rail, train lines into western Massachusetts, and the Worcester airport.
Whether or not Boston is actually chosen, “This is about projecting ourselves on the world stage,” Patrick said.
In December, the U.S. Olympic Committee will select its American city ultimately offered up to the International Olympic Committee. If chosen, Boston will have two years to craft its bid against international cities including Paris; Doha, Quatar; Melbourne, Australia; and Lima, Peru. The American shortlist of cities also includes Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.
The Boston 2024 Partnership is currently crafting the city’s Olympic bid and last week detailed its initial vision for the games, which includes a potential stadium at Widett Circle on the South Boston-Dorchester Line, modular housing for athletes at UMass Boston’s Bayside Expo Center, and a $4.5 billion budget. The proposal does not include the cost for public infrastructure improvements, which would total roughly $5 billion, according to the Boston Business Journal.
In his remarks, Patrick referenced London, which hosted the games in 2012, as a city that has harnessed its history with an eye on progress. “It’s a space in which I think we ought to be,” he said. “I’ve said this often: Massachusetts invented America. It’s a real selling point."