Olympics boosters refute Brattle Group analysis
By State House News Service | August 19, 2015, 7:52 EDT
Written by Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE — The group that sought to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to Boston said Tuesday the state-commissioned report that identified sources of risk to state taxpayers contains “several” errors and misrepresentations.
The Cambridge-based Brattle Group’s report, released Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, raised significant concerns about the organizing committee’s cost projections for building many of the major venues that would be required to host the Olympics, as well as questions about the positive economic impact on the region. The report found that necessary infrastructure improvement expenses may have been significantly underestimated.
Boston 2024 organizers fired back in a 1,000-word statement Tuesday afternoon, alleging that the Brattle Group made a number of “critical” errors in its analysis of the Olympics bid and did not fact check many of its findings.
“While the Brattle Report confirmed many of the risks and opportunities that were identified in Bid 2.0, we were surprised that the report failed to thoroughly and accurately account for important cost differences between Boston’s bid and other Olympic Games,” Boston 2024 said in a statement. “Boston 2024 appreciates the work of the Brattle Group, however we respectfully disagree with some of their assumptions and analyses and have identified several misrepresentations and/or errors within the report.”
On Tuesday, Baker said The Brattle Group report would not have convinced him to commit his support to the Olympic effort were it still in play now.
Boston 2024 called the Brattle Group’s report “a simple comparison of our budget to past Games including London,” and charged that the Brattle Group did not make use of detailed estimates provided by Boston 2024 that includes the prices of construction material.
“The Brattle Group suggested that our International Broadcast Center/Main Press Center estimate of $50.5 million was 90% lower than London’s and thus was a $450 million shortfall in our bid,” Boston 2024 said. “This is a critical, nearly half-billion dollar error on the part of the Brattle Group. Our budget estimate was to lease and retrofit space only, while London’s cost included construction of a brand, new permanent facility.”
The U.S. Olympic Committee decided in July amid flagging public support to pull Boston’s bid to be the nation’s representative in the international competition to host to the 2024 summer games. Political leaders at the time, including Baker, were withholding their support for the bid until they could read the analysis being prepared by the Brattle Group.
The Brattle Group report was commissioned by Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, all of whom said Tuesday that the report could still have value as civic leaders consider future plans for development and transportation upgrades in the city.
“We are gratified that the Brattle Group report noted that Boston 2024’s ideas to improve housing, transportation and parks are worthy of future discussion and we look forward to supporting Gov. Baker, the Legislature and [Boston] Mayor [Martin] Walsh in those endeavors,” the group said in its statement.
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