WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — It would take a regional effort for the Olympics to come to Washington, D.C. in 2024.
District Mayor Vincent Gray, who is lukewarm to the idea of hosting the games, believes the city would need to depend on its neighbors in order to accommodate all of the events and traffic the global event would bring with it.
“There is no way you can do anything of this complexity or magnitude using only the confines of the District of Columbia,” Gray said Wednesday. “I think you’d have to go as far away as Philadelphia. I think you’d have to go as far south as Richmond in order to be able to do this effectively.”
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Philadelphia is roughly 2.5 hours and Richmond 2 hours away by car. Travel times to both cities can vary greatly depending on the often congested roads along the I-95 corridor.
Outside of casting many eyes on the city, the question is whether the nation’s capital even needs the influx of visitors the spectacle would provide.
For Gray, the idea of bringing the Olympics to the region is a financial one.
“There’s a lot of cost that’s associated with it,” he explained. “There are a lot of facilities that are built. The stadiums that are built, the indoor arenas, the pools . . . What happens to those in the aftermath?”
Gray said the city’s booming tourist industry is doing well and doesn’t necessarily need the international event.
More than 17.9 million tourists visited Washington last year — surpassing the previous record of 17.4 million in 2000.
As for the global impact of the games? International tourists accounted for 27 percent of total visitor spending in the District last year.
The International Olympic Committee will reveal its choice for the 2024 host city in 2017.