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Security for the 2024 Olympics could cost $1 billion and more, if the games take place in Los Angeles, according to some estimates.
In an effort to ensure the federal government covers the cost of providing security, Los Angeles City Council has agreed to seek a “National Special Security Event” designation for the games. This would allow the federal government to pay for the helicopters, fighter jets, and personnel needed to ensure the safety of visitors and residents in the city, as it did during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
The Games are expected to cost as much as $4 billion. Vanessa Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, said Wesson is “committed to shielding the city and its taxpayers from financial risk” the event might incur. “Requesting that the federal government provide and finance security for the games ensures that the highest level of public safety is dedicated to the city while capitalizing on federal funding.”
Los Angeles last hosted the Olympics in 1984, and is now competing against Paris, Rome, Budapest, and Hamburg to secure the Games for 2024. The International Olympic Committee will reveal the winning city in 2017.
Under the designation, the US Secret Service, under the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security, would be in charge of planning, coordination, and implementation of security during the two weeks of the Olympic Games.
Andrew Zimbalist, economics professor at Smith College and author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup,” has estimated that security for a US Olympic Games could cost in the range of $1 to $2 billion. He added that normally the federal government covers the majority of security costs, with local authorities additionally boosting personnel and overtime for officers.
The 2002 Salt Lake City Games, which took place mere months after the 11 Sept 2001 terrorist attacks, reportedly had a security budget of $300 million. The London Games, by contrast, had a security budget of $1.5 billion.