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Will an Olympics commitment fix the MBTA?

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says yes, others disagree

A Red Line train stuck in Quincy.

Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

If a few feet of snow can bring Boston and its vaunted transit system to a halt for days, hundreds of thousands of tourists and athletes gathering for the 2024 Summer Olympics will leave the city gridlocked for weeks, says the leading opponent of the city’s olympic bid.

“The city has effectively been shut down because the T hasn't been able to do its job," said Dempsey. "And that is a very personal issue for people like me, who ride the T every day,"

No Boston Olympics co-founder Christopher Dempsey, said by phone Tuesday.

Monday’s heavy snowfall prevented Dempsey, a former state Assistant Secretary of Transportation, from traveling through the city.

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Supporters of a Boston Summer Olympic games in 2024 have brushed off concerns over the havoc the epic event could wreak on the city's weak transportation network by suggesting that such a commitment would force local and state leaders to upgrade the infrastructure, but not all are so convinced.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh went on WEEI 93.7 radio Tuesday morning and argued that the Olympics in Boston would set a deadline for improvements to the constantly scrutinized MBTA.

"If we get an Olympics we have to upgrade the infrastructure of the T," said Walsh. "We've been having what we are having right now for 100 years so I think if we have an Olympics there will be a date at the end of the tunnel here saying we need to get the [transit system] up to speed."

Walsh pointed to the fact that the Games would be held during a more mild time of year.

“I know there is some criticism about the roads and how we handle snow,” he said. “I'm hoping that in August of [2024] we don't have six feet of snow.”

Dempsey's group openly opposes the push by Boston 2024 to bring the Games to Boston. A concern over transportation is just one of the issues at hand, Dempsey said, but because it is a significant one, No Boston Olympics put out information on its website shedding light on its transit concerns.

"The case is being made by some that the Olympics will force us to fix the T and that we will get all new funding for it, but that's not the reality," said Dempsey.

Boston 2024 did not immediately return a request for comment as of deadline Tuesday.

 
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