State consultant say Olympics would have put taxpayers at risk for hundreds of millions of dollars of overruns

The governor's office today released the Brattle Group report on financial implications of holding the 2024 Olympics here. And what the Brattle Group found was that Boston 2024 dramatically underestimated the costs of certain facilities and that the much vaunted "deadline" effect for forcing infrastructure improvements could have meant even higher costs as contractors demanded extra payments to build everything on time.

It is our understanding that the Olympic Stadium would have been the largest such temporary stadium, making it difficult to evaluate the cost estimate that was in Bid 2.0. Similarly, Bid 2.0 had not fully developed its proposals for the Aquatics Center, the Velodrome, or the media center to allow a proper evaluation of the cost. However, past experience suggests that Boston 2024 would have been unlikely to meet those cost estimates, and a more reasonable cost estimate would have been over $970 million higher than reported in Bid 2.0. In addition, the contingencies included in Bid 2.0 are considerably lower than those typically used in the construction industry for projects at such an early stage of development. If Boston 2024 had used a more typical contingency, its projected cost would have been at least $100 million higher.

That would have more than wiped out the $100-million+ surplus Boston 2024 was projecting from ticket sales, sponsorships and the like.

Many of Boston 2024's infrastructure improvements included projects the state has yet to map out - such as bolstering the T's power and signal systems to handle all the extra trains required to meet the Olympic demand for the three-week games. Just those signal and power improvements would have cost upwards of $1.3 billion - money the state had yet to commit to - Brattle said.

Bid 2.0 appeared to assume that the projects could have been completed in time for the Olympic Games; an accelerated timetable may have driven the costs higher than estimated because of such factors as increased overtime and prices for materials. Even if cost were not an issue, the projects would still have required attention from MassDOT, which could have displaced other priorities.

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    Not Surprised.

    No one should be surprised by this report. Well, maybe Shirley Leung. But for all of us labeled as naysayers we now have a feeling of validation.

    Where Do They Come From? ... And Where Do They Go?

    By on

                                              ( Note where they come from at Time = 1:35 ! )
     
    It's important to reflect on where all these people who tried to impose the Olympics came from. For example, Mr. Davey came from the , where he did nothing but continue running it into the ground (and not in a good way). O-FISH-L's post is a laundry list of others (though, I don't blame it all on Democrats).

    Like rats who have escaped from a sunken ship, watch out for the vermin to reappear again. It made me think of Kitty Carlisle.

    duh

    By on

    Like duh.

    So we needed the brattle group to tell us what we already knew.. :) Thanks for the confirmation.

    What you *suspected*. Hard numbers = responsible governance.

    By on

    Hey, I was firmly in the NoBostonOlympics camp too, but I'm glad that the gov got a legitimately independent group to do a real analysis.

    Plus this means that next time someone suggests a boondoggle like this, we can start the discussion from a position of informed skepticism, instead of wasting time listening to naive boosterism and knee-jerk cynicism knocking their heads against each other.

    We have decades worth of

    By on

    We have decades worth of evidence that hosting Olympics, the World Cup,etc are terrible ideas that only benefit some connected one percenters. History informed my skepticism long before this report ever came out.

    Had to be positive effect?

    By on

    Lots of people traveled from far away to spend lots of money on hotels and restaurants in the general area, if not in Boston itself. There were a good number of matches in Foxboro back in 1994.

    How much did the state make

    By on

    How much did the state make during the World cup games in 1994, my understanding Massachusetts was in a fiscal recovery situation under the leadership of a Republican Governor during that time period.

    With the exception of hockey

    By on

    With the exception of hockey at the Winter Games, I don't watch the Olympics anymore, but I did take weeks off to watch the World Cup last summer. If the US gets a World Cup in the future and it includes Foxboro, at least the stadium is in place and it's just a handful of games in one sport, unlike the Summer Olympics, which are a monstrosity these days.

    Walsh gets no credit from me

    By on

    He bailed at the 11th hour when the writing was on the wall. If he'd showed any real leadership by demanding hard answers to tricky questions when this concept was first floated, then either we'd have had a realistic, achievable bid or the bid would have been killed much earlier. Either would have been less a waste of time.

    Baker gets some credit, mostly for operating on the time frame which worked for him and the state vs. saying 'how high' when told jump like Walsh.

    Past tense

    As someone else pointed out, you gotta feel for the poor intern who had to change all the present tenses to past tenses in that report, once the bid was canceled.

    Feel sorry?

    I think you underestimate how thrilled a recent graduate with a BA in English would be while gainfully employed in an endeavor actually related to his or her degree.

    I wouldn't feel great about having a BA in English and doing

    a job that requires a few passes with Word's "global find and replace" command. Granted, times are tough for recent grads, and it's better than not working, but I imagine most of them hope to end up in a field where critical thinking and powerful writing skills are valued.

    That said: judging from the entry-level candidates I've interviewed in the last ten years or so, the average set of written communication skills among recent college graduates is truly pitiful. Most can't put a coherent paragraph together. Shocking how poor an education you can get for your mountain of debt these days.

    Olympics money

    By on

    All the "estimates" on Olympic costs were all lowball. Then with the blank check Mayor Walsh was or did sign to pick up the "overruns" it would have been a big payday for some fatcats!

    HOLY SHNIKEYS!!!

    By on

    YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT ALL THESE DEEP POCKET HOLIER THAN THOU WHITE GUY NORTHERN GOOD OLD BOYS WERE LYING TO US!!!!

    That is like SO hard to believe.

    They must just love that all the "reglar folks" got one over on them and they can't have their big ole money grab.

    sux 4 them.

    NECN reported $970 million in

    By on

    NECN reported $970 million in cost overruns. Those whoe were pushing Boston2024 are disgusting liars with no credibility. All of your reputations are now revealed for the dishonest money-grabbing criminals you actually are.

    Keep voting Democrat!

    By on

    Partial list of Boston 2024 salaries:

    Richard Davey, Chief Executive Officer ($300,000)

    Erin Murphy, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Bid Officer ($215,000)

    Joe Rull, Chief Administrative Officer ($175,000)

    Loreen Watts, Executive Assistant and Office Manager ($55,000)

    Paige Scott Reed, General Counsel ($182,500)

    Nikko Mendoza, Vice President of Engagement and External Affairs ($120,000)

    Amy Sennett, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Assistant General Counsel ($120,000)

    Ingrid Oelschlager, Project Manager ($80,000)

    Sarah Caruthers, Director of Special Projects ($70,000)

    Chris Ciampa, Executive Assistant ($73,000)

    Deval Patrick ($7500 per day)

    Doug Rubin (Democrat consultant $15,000 per month)

    John Walsh (ex-Chairman of MA Democrat party $10,000 per month)

    Hey dummy

    By on

    It's called trickle down economics.

    True, that

    Especially coming from someone who would have demanded a 3:1 detail cop to spectator ratio had this scheme/scam gone through.

    sure

    By on

    Don't tease me like that!

    It was gonna be Deval's third term

    By on

    The whole rotten infrastructure that was the Deval Patrick administration was simply forklifted in it's entirety to Boston2024. They saw it as way of playing the grift of the last eight years out indefinitely.

    I mean, you didn't think that they were going to go out and become legit taxpayers or something?

    Romney is a pretty right wing

    By on

    Romney is a pretty right wing guy fish breath and he was deeply involved with this and with the Utah boondogle where he "rescued" the Olympics by getting tons of more taxpayer money. Kind of like the way Baker "rescued" Harvard Pilgrim, by using his connections from his Weld (R) days to get the state to buy there offices and give them a sweetheart rental deal. Plus we are still paying for the big dig disaster that Weld, Cellecci, Baker et al concocted which though users pay nothing to use the rest of the states transportation system is a mess. Dont think this is a soley democratic party problem, the repubes are just as if not more corrupt, plus short sighted.

    The whole thing folded as

    By on

    The whole thing folded as soon as the public asked to see the bid documents and the governor/speaker of the house made it clear the state wasn't doing anything until an independent report was completed. 2024 never intended to face any level scrutiny.

    I can imagine the back room

    So this worked when we did the Big Dig, right? This'll be like Big Dig II. By the time they know how much it costs, there's a big hole they gotta fix.

    3 items :)

    First, when will Shirley Leung issue a mea culpa in her Glob column?*

    Second, now that we have numbers (1.3 Billion? Holy )(&*^(&^%#%^), can we use this to convince the 0.01%ers to quit trying to scam us?**

    Third, did Governor Baker just win re-election?***

    projected answers:
    * never
    ** doubtful
    *** probably

    Baker

    Maybe the governor was being thoughtful, prudent, and cautious, but I think there was a good chance that he didn't want to make a decision and irritate either the no olympic voters or the rich money people. He has his eye on another term, and doesn't want to screw it up. After all, no one really needed a study to figure this out.

    How could he have approved hosting the Olympics when he pulled the plug on expanding the Convention Center--a minor project relatively speaking when compared to 2024. He was sitting on the fence.

    Either way, alls well that ends well.

    A Shirley Leung mea culpa won't cut it

    By on

    Leung is GONE, or the Globe's credibility is over.

    Rogue journalists shouldn't get away with trying to destroy the city that they are supposed to be serving.

    Er, what?

    By on

    The whole point of having a free press is that ill informed people can write stupid stuff and put their name (and face sometimes!) right next to it. If you want to argue that some reporter at the Globe was clearly in the tank for Boston2024 and hid bad info or knowingly printed falsehoods, that's different, but Shirley is an opinion columnist and while she's not a good one, it's different. She's not a rogue journalist, she's an op-ed hack.

    No doubt

    By on

    But I don't think that's a specific reason to fire an opinion columnist like they were caught plagiarizing or something. If McGrory wants to can Leung because her columns lack value or merit overall, great. I just don't buy the argument that she should specifically be canned for being pro-Olympics.

    Overall, Boston Mag killed the Globe in terms of local coverage of Boston2024. Surprising, but they've definitely improved their newsroom I think.

    Glob credibility???

    ... lost when they hired Jeff Jacoby.

    True story: when I got to Somerville in 87, I subscribed to the Globe. When I moved out on my own, I dropped the subscription and just walked down to the corner bodega to buy it on Sunday. I liked the "City" section and the recipes and do-it-yourself decorating in the Globe Magazine.

    After I moved to Watertown, and they functionally destroyed the "metrowest" section (tell me what Watertown has in common with Wellesley other than the letter W?), and then "upscaled" the Globe Magazine, I stopped buying it altogether.

    And no, I don't waste my time on boston.com or bostonglobe.com or whatever it is now, unless it's a link from here. I get more accurate reports from rumor mills than the Boston papers can provide.

    I don't have much to add to

    I don't have much to add to the main point of the report. It all came to what we suspected (sadly, and I use the word sadly for reasons I mentioned in previous posts).

    The one quibble is the argument that the deadline effect forcing the state to spend more money than "necessary" to get it all done on time. I'm not sure I would have seen that as a bad thing (depends on the project). I mean take the example of the signal and power system mention in this post, it implies that the cost would be greater than $1.3 billion as we have to rush it. But that also implies that now to do within $1.3 billion will do it past 2024... implying we won't see a fix to the power outages and signal problems until after 2024. I don't know about you, but the longer it takes, means the less years of my existence I get to enjoy it.

    Apologies if I conflated stuff too much

    By on

    When they talked about "deadline pricing," I think they were referring to Olympics-specific stuff such as the Widett Circle deck, the Columbia Point athletes' village and, of course, the ever popular velodrome - stuff that absolutely has to be in place for the Olympics to happen. The T stuff doesn't quite fall under that; instead, the report said that money spent on signaling and the like might force the state to take away from other, already planned transportation projects.

    Globe now touting Somalian farmers in Maine, sans brutal murder

    By on

    Some have mentioned the pathetic Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung. I begrudgingly subscribe to the Boston Sunday Globe, using every discount possible, in order to gain all access to the Globe website, 24/7. So it was worth the few dollars to get a laugh this weekend as the Globe described the "contribution" of Somalian refugee farmers in Maine while omitting the murder committed by fellow Somali refugees up the road. A murder reportedly so brutal, that officials have asked to seal the police reports. Celebrate diversity!

    You're words, Adam. Not mine.

    By on

    Point being that in the Globe's celebrating the arrival of Somalian refugees to Maine, perhaps a mere mention of the brutal murder up the road moments earlier for which three Somalians are now accused? Then again, I took "Journalism 101" in the 80's when there was still a semblance of truth in the news and trust in the media wasn't in single digits. Why mention Somali crime (or welfare) in Maine and ruin a great Sunday Globe story?

    Okay then

    Using your "logic", all police officers are cold blooded murderers because some cops have done some really bad things.

    That's not what fish means

    What fish means is that every time a story runs in the Glob celebrating a police officer for saving a dog or delivering a baby, it should have a sidebar about police murders or police steroid abuse.

    I think what O-Fish-L is

    By on

    I think what O-Fish-L is pointing out is a legitimate example of skewed reporting.

    Imagine if a newspaper only covered crime committed by immigrants or ethnic minorities, and ignored or suppressed good stories about the same groups. The paper would quickly be labeled xenophobes or racists, right? Despite all those crime stories being true, the imbalance in only reporting the bad acts and individuals in that group would be seen as an attempt to manipulate people's opinions of the group as a whole.

    So, why not apply the same logic to a paper only reporting the good stories about such-and-such a group and seemingly ignoring or suppressing reports of crime committed by individuals in that group?

    Diversity Celebrated!

    By on

    Here's your basic Somali MTV https://youtu.be/4-7YAmvoYqg

    Another courtship song https://youtu.be/nqTw9oCOoz0

    This one is from the north. https://youtu.be/LrRVu55pq70

    This from Eritrea https://youtu.be/OZ0Wa_YY2Vk

    Something from Ethiopia https://youtu.be/6cpaHFeogqw

    Ethiopians fought along side us in the Korean war as part of a UN contingent and legendary military analyst S.L. A. Marshall was very impressed by them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.L.A._Marshall

    Maybe Maine has a bunch of murders to keep track of and plumb forgot.

    Here's some white people who have tried to beat that score in the past few months.

    Anthony Lord.
    http://wsau.com/news/articles/2015/jul/20/maine-man-faces-charges-after-...

    Svend Jorgensen
    http://www.pressherald.com/2015/07/08/panel-may-review-boothbay-harbor-d...

    Robert Burton
    http://www.pressherald.com/2015/06/08/police-issue-arrest-warrant-for-ma...

    So it looks like Somalis 1 / White people 5.

    Now we need is a bit of pearl clutching from "Malcom Tucker" and this comment thread can combine the best of our concern trolls and our old school bellowing windbags.