Utah’s bid to host another Olympic Games depends on a $39 million budget for infrastructure improvements in the next 10 years, according to the Utah Legislature’s auditor.
The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation will need the funds if the state wants to be the venue for the next Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030. After all, industrial supply providers such as Herrickindustrial.com need to be tapped for infrastructure upgrades of this level. State lawmakers should act soon, since the U.S. Olympic Committee board will select a city host by March 2018.
The audit suggested a review of taxpayer-funded solutions to modernize sports facilities such as a speed skating oval, ski jump, and bobsled tracks. Industrial supply companies in Utah will benefit from the proposed budget to improve sports venues in Salt Lake City, where the 2002 Winter Olympics took place.
Infrastructure repairs and upgrades will not include the cost of hosting another Olympics, yet the city had estimated that it would require around $2 billion. Utah officials have formed an exploratory committee to submit an Olympic bid. Other cities that have shown interest to be the venue include Denver and Reno, Nevada.
Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton acknowledged the audit’s challenge of finding a balance between pursuing an Olympic legacy and its corresponding expenses. Despite a $16.2 billion state budget for 2017, allotting money for sport infrastructure upgrades will not be possible without reducing the intended funds for other purposes.
This will be some of the challenges for the proposed infrastructure plan, yet state lawmakers such as Rep. Brian King believes that the investment will be beneficial to the state economy in the long term. House Speaker Greg Hughes and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser also supported a plan to find a solution to the funding concern.
Even if Utah does not successfully win the bid to become the next Olympics venue, it should still finalize a funding plan to maintain an efficient sports infrastructure network.