In October the Park Record’s editorial said Parkites should want to host another Olympics. Reading today’s Mountain Town news section, we wonder if that’s really true.
Park Record’s Mountain Town news is running a story about Alberta Canada vying for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Some of the choice quotes are:
The Rocky Mountain Outlook reports that a high-level financial analysis has estimated potential revenue for the 2026 Calgary/Canmore games at $2.19 billion, with expenses of $4.57 billion. That would leave taxpayers on the hook for $2.41 billion, with half of that expected to be covered by the federal government.
So this is Alberta, and things could be different in Utah, but their analysis is it will cost tax payers over $2 billion dollars. Uhh, that’s a lot of teachers… or really a lot of anything.
The article continues on:
According to the FiveThirtyEight, Bent Flyvbjerg at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School found an average 156 percent cost overruns for hosting the Olympics. This compares to 20 percent overruns for road projects, 34 percent for bridges and tunnels, 45 percent for rail projects, 90 percent for dams.
The good news is that Salt Lake’s Olympics in 2002 only overran the budget by 24%.
So we know the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics sounds cool, and it’s likely Utah will try to get it, but is it worth it? The proponents would tell you that what we’ll get out of the Olympics (long-term) is light-rail. That could be up Parleys (maybe… but it is pretty steep). That could be a connection from Big Cottonwood to PC (but that requires a big tunnel or 3 hour rides). That could be along 224 (most likely). Light rail is also $30 million a mile.
The question we ask is if we forgo the Olympics what could we do with a billion dollars?
Whatever it is, we’d bet it is better than light rail.