Vote on 2024 Olympics delayed amid questions over cost
LOS ANGELES (AP) Facing an early test of support at home, Los Angeles' 2024 Olympics plan stalled Wednesday amid questions about potential runaway costs and the impact on neighborhoods already strangled by traffic and congestion.
The City Council had been expected to vote on a proposal to give Mayor Eric Garcetti broad authority to execute agreements linked to the bid, a steppingstone toward entering the international competition for the Games.
But the vote was pushed backed until at least Friday after it became clear members were struggling with questions from potential taxpayer debt to how construction and its inevitable headaches would transform the nation's second-largest city.
''What protections do we have? Is this going to be a blank check?'' Councilman David Ryu asked after the meeting.
At this juncture, any delay could have consequences.
The U.S. Olympic Committee last month cut talks with Boston, which was initially selected as the U.S. contender for the 2024 Games. With Los Angeles the likely stand-in, the USOC faces a Sept. 15 deadline to enter a bid with the International Olympic Committee.
Council President Herb Wesson credited Garcetti for proposing an ambitious plan but added that ''we are not going to do anything that will put the residents of this city in harm's way.''
In a later statement, he said, ''we cannot let our excitement trump our responsibility to the taxpayers and must ensure all documents have been thoroughly vetted.''
Organizers on Tuesday released the first detailed budget for the Games, with plans calling for the staging of events from Santa Monica Beach to Hollywood. Ryu and others said they had been given virtually no time to examine the bid document, which runs over 200 pages.
The tentative plan calls for $6.4 billion in public and private spending, leaving a $161 million surplus.
Over the years Olympics have been notorious for cost overruns, and studies have questioned if host cities benefit economically. Russia has been struggling with costs from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which have been called the most expensive Olympics of all time.
Garcetti has expressed confidence that the city, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, could keep the budget in the black.
''Our existing world-class venues would make the Games exciting, fiscally responsible and profitable,'' said Jeff Millman, a former Garcetti aide working for the private committee behind LA's bid. ''Yesterday we released the first draft of our plan, which will evolve in the months and years ahead.''