Opponents of a Boston Olympics seized on published reports Wednesday to suggest that Boston 2024, the local bid committee, has been disingenuous in its longstanding promise of a privately funded Olympics.
They pointed to documents, obtained and published by the Boston Business Journal, that indicate Boston 2024 had proposed that the City of Boston finance land acquisition and infrastructure costs at Widett Circle, site of a proposed temporary Olympic stadium, by issuing tax increment financing bonds. These would be repaid by land lease payments and new property tax revenue created by the private redevelopment of the site, according to the documents .
Boston 2024 chief operating officer Erin Murphy Rafferty responded, “We stand by our commitment that the operations of the Games and the building of venues will be privately funded.”
The new documents include material originally redacted from the “bid book” Boston 2024 submitted last year to the US Olympic Committee, during the domestic phase of the competition for the 2024 Olympic Games. At the time, Boston was competing with Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles for the right to represent the United States in the worldwide competition for the Games.
In releasing its bid documents in January, the committee said it had withheld some information it claimed could put the bid at a competitive disadvantage if released.
Tax increment financing is a financial tool often used by local governments to spur new development in blighted or under-developed areas.
Boston 2024 has promised to release a new venue plan by June 30. A spokesman reached Wednesday night said he did not know if the new plan would call for a similar financing plan for land and infrastructure at Widett Circle.
Mark Arsenault can be reached at email@example.com.