Update, April 29: Representative William Straus, who sponsored the budget amendment referred to in this post (the amendment would have required the IOC to pay market rates for any outdoor advertising space it commandeered for the Olympics — more info in this Herald article) withdrew the amendment today, so it will not be part of the House budget recommendation for the coming fiscal year.
At the time he filed the amendment, Representative Straus, the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, said this:
“I am concerned that this could result in the effective diversion of millions of dollars in regular advertising receipts for the commonwealth now realized through Massport, the MBTA and MassDOT,” the Mattapoisett Democrat wrote. “Those revenues currently support and help defray the costs of these transportation agencies.”
I do not believe that the Representative has issued any comment on his reason for withdrawing the amendment.
Earlier this week, the House rejected an amendment to prohibit public money from being used for the Olympics — the same proposal that the United Independent Party is seeking to put on the 2016 statewide ballot.
Looks like the Boston 2024 folks are going to be swarming the Boston Marathon on Monday. They’ll be trying to create the impression that any fan of the Marathon also supports Boston 2024’s bid to host the Olympics nine years hence.
And as today’s Globe reports, Boston 2024 has some Marathon-related news that it’s hoping will jump-start their flagging campaign: the winner of last year’s men’s race thinks that it would be a swell idea for Boston to host the Olympics. Boston 2024 COO Erin Murphy gushes at the endorsement:
Meb is universally loved and respected for his achievements and we are so honored to have him be part of this,” Murphy said. The Eritrea-born runner who became a US citizen is so well known, Murphy said, “he’s like Madonna and Cher — he doesn’t even need a last name.”
For those of you who don’t want to be seen as so out of touch that you don’t know Meb’s last name, it’s Keflezighi, and here are his comments in support of Boston 2024:
You need unity of the community, unity of the city, in order to make it happen,” he said. “Somebody will be happy, somebody will be upset, and obviously it cannot satisfy everybody but hopefully we can meet halfway, with commitment and sacrifice in a common goal to make it a reality. Not just for Boston, for America.”
Meb’s hometown is San Diego, so maybe what he means by “meeting halfway” is that the 2024 Olympics will be held in Topeka.
In other Olympics news, the state House of Representatives will soon be debating the budget for the coming fiscal year. In light of the IOC’s practice of requiring that all city transport, airport and billboard advertising be under their control for the duration of the games, some Representatives are concerned that this demand might harm ad revenues that go to the MBTA, Massport and other state agencies with outdoor advertising space. So they have filed an amendment to the budget requiring that Boston 2024 pay market rates for any advertising space it commandeers.
Here is more information on the amendment. There’s still time before the budget debate begins on April 27 for you to ask your State Representative to sign on as a co-sponsor.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that the Olympics will be paid for by private money, so maybe the Boston 2024 folks will also be chatting up this budget amendment when they descend on the Marathon on Monday.