The committee responsible for deciding if L.A. will make a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games is holding its first meeting today. And there will be a lot to consider. A new report from the city’s top budget officials sites a number of potential problems, including possible cost overruns building housing for athletes.
The report from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso was quickly assembled and released just as city councilmembers prepare to start scrutinizing the city’s plan for hosting the 2024 Games.
Earlier this week, Mayor Eric Garcetti and officials with LA24 – the group putting together the city’s bid – released the city’s Olympics blueprint. They project it will cost nearly $6 billion to host the Games, and they anticipate Los Angeles will reap a $160 million profit.
But the new city report suggests LA24’s math be fuzzy. In particular Santana and Tso say that construction of an Olympic village could “significantly exceed” the anticipated $1 billion cost. The village is supposed to be built on 125-acre rail yard owned by Union Pacific Corp., but the report points out that the rail company has not indicated if it’s willing to sell the property.
It also cites other unknowns: For example, LA24 says the city would collect $1.7 billion from private sponsors. But it’s not clear which companies or organizations would be involved. In addition, the report raises questions about how Los Angeles River restoration would be impacted by the games and how the city would accommodate groups that are displaced from Griffith Park and other Olympics venues.
Another looming question is potential cost overruns for the games as a whole. Garcetti has said he’s willing to guarantee that the city will make the difference if the Games cost more to produce than they bring in, although he doesn’t believe that will happen. Critics say L.A. can’t afford to take that risk.
The city must decide by mid-September if it will make a bid to host the 2024 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee is expected to make its pick in 2017.