Olympics would have been costly for Chicago

After seeing the debacle in Rio, should Chicago be happy that it wasn’t awarded the 2016 Olympic Games?

In 2009, Chicago was eliminated from the competition to host the Olympic Games currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro. Local politicians like then-Mayor Richard Daley said the games would have been a boon to the city’s struggling south side. But others opposed it, saying the city couldn’t afford the massive event.

The 2012 games in London gave the nay-sayers some vindication when the costs of the games nearly doubled, crippling the city’s post-recession finances.

City Journal Magazine editor Steven Malanga said the cost coupled with the rising crime rate would have made hosting the Olympic games in Chicago very burdensome for the city.

“Chicago has struggled,” he said. “It hasn’t been able to rebound from the recession. It’s got all this long-term debt that it’s taken on. It would’ve had to put on the Olympics in those circumstances.”

Even though Chicago lost the bid, Malanga said the Games are still costing taxpayers in the form of decade-long union contracts to avoid a strike during the games.

“Part of Chicago’s fiscal struggles right now are because they’ve been bearing the cost of those expensive contracts with 34 labor unions,” he said.

Chicago also paid $2 million per acre for a lot that was to become the Olympic Village. The city still owns the land and cannot sell the vacant lot, which the Chicago Tribune said will cost it $140 million in principal and interest if it cannot pay off the loan it took out to make the purchase.

The 2016 Olympic Games is estimated to be costing Rio de Janeiro $20 billion. Brazil is subsidizing a large portion of that cost.

–Illinois News Network

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