Olympic Angst

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 23 2012 @ 6:09pm


While some people are looking forward to the Games, many in its host city are not among them:

[Londoners have] become acutely conscious of the high cost and monumental inconvenience of hosting a global spectacle. London, a sprawling city of nearly 8 million people, already suffers from congested streets and chronically packed trains and subways, and there’s little doubt that extra security measures and a flood of 1 million tourists will tie the city in knots. A recent test on the London Underground and rail lines led to hour-long delays and infuriated passengers. "It’s going to be like this every bloody day during the Olympics," said one transport worker. "The tourists are okay; they’re patient. But the commuters aren’t." Londoners are also rankled that the Games’ organizers have designated 250 exclusive traffic lanes on some of London’s busiest roads for the use of Olympic VIPs, including executives of sponsors such as Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, and BP—who also get dibs on all the best seats.

"But [Londoners are] particularly worried about the enormous cost of staging the Games." And how much is that?

Originally, money from the private sector was to pay for the games, but as the 2008 financial crisis took hold the Olympic project was bailed out costing the British tax payer $9.2bn. The latest government report has the cost of the games on target at $14.52bn of public sector funding package. However a recent public accounts committee report warned the full cost of the games could amount to about $17.18bn.  As a result of the games VISA predicts an increase in consumer spending of $1.71bn and a $£7.96bn stimulus to the British Economy.

Earlier coverage of the cost-benefit considerations here.

(Photo: A view of an Olympic lane on July 21, 2012 in London, England. By Scott Heavey/Getty Images)