Mayor Walsh said this morning he will not agree to sign the "host city contract" without assurances that Boston will not be liable for any possible cost overruns. And if the USOC says he has to agree to a contract today even though it won't be available until September, "then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and paralympic games."
At a hastily called press conference this morning, Walsh said he still wants to see Olympic games here, but "I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away, I refuse to commit to cost overruns."
He said from what he has heard, the city could potentially be on the hook for the entire estimated $4.7-billion cost of the Olympics in the worst case.
He said Boston simply needs more time to ensure taxpayers are not left holding the bag - and that he feels there are ways, through insurance and guarantees, that Boston could be protected.
He said Boston is far ahead of any other potential host cities in the US in terms of its planning. And he said the Olympics and the development it would spur would mean a host of benefits to the city, including raising tax revenue from Widett Circle from $800,000 to as much as $150 million, as well as setting deadlines for getting the T fixed.
"We'll see what the USOC does," he said. USOC members are in Kuala Lumpur for a meeting today.
He continued he still discounts opposition to the games. "The opposition for the most part are about 10 people on Twitter" and the negative numbers in polls is not really "strong" opposition," he said.