The U.S. Olympic Committee is interviewing five cities as they attempt to make a decision on whether the U.S. will bid to host the 2016 Olympics. The first stop was in Houston, where Mayor Bill White says the city and Harris County presented information to the committee about Houston's ability to host the games.
"We support the Olympic movement here in Houston, Texas, the athletes, the spirit of international understanding. We're a great international city and we're honored to be chosen to have this particular dialogue. This was an exchange of information, very business-like tone and attitude."
Committee members discussed financing, logistics and transportation with city officials. U.S.O.C. Chairman Peter Uberroth says the process is a bit different this year. In the past, Olympic committees have interviewed numerous cities and gone through an elimination process. This time, there are only five cities under consideration and whichever one is selected will be expected to raise private funds.
"We shared the fact that if there is a bid coming out of this city, we need to look at basically a privately financed bid, not publicly. We don't want taxpayer money used to finance a bid for the Olympic games. If there are some facilities built that are used in the Olympics and used for 50 years after that's a different matter. But the Olympic bid process should be done privately in our view, so we'll say that to all the cities."
If the U.S. does make a bid, Houston will compete with Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco for the host designation. The U.S.O.C. must make a proposal to bid by March 31, 2007. The International Olympic Committee will then vote on each country's bid. There are 120 voting members and a win requires at least 60 votes. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.