Majority of Tahoe-Reno locals want Winter Olympics
April 20, 2008
RENO (AP) ” Organizers of an effort to bring a future Winter Olympics to Reno and Lake Tahoe said Thursday they are encouraged by new poll results that show a majority of area residents support the idea.
The survey also found there are two main reasons that those opposed don’t want the Olympic Games here ” traffic congestion during the events as well as problems related to construction leading up to them.
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they support or strongly support the idea of Reno-Tahoe hosting a future Olympic Winter Games while 31 percent said they do not or strongly do not, with 18 percent answering “not sure.”
Of those opposed, 39 percent said they are against the idea because of the traffic during the games and 37 percent because of problems related to the construction beforehand. Eleven percent cited environmental concerns and 10 percent oppose hosting the competition because of a potential financial burden to taxpayers.
“We are very pleased that a majority of residents support our efforts to pursue a Winter Olympic Games bid,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition.
“We also are grateful to those who voiced concerns. We share them and will only move forward if we can ensure an economically and environmentally sound plan,” he said at a news conference unveiling the poll results.
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The coalition commissioned Research 2000 of Rockville, Md., to conduct the survey of 600 likely voters between Jan. 14-17. Half the people in the poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent were from Washoe County while the other half was divided among Carson and Douglas counties in Nevada and El Dorado, Nevada and Placer counties in California.
Under the proposal, some of the events would be held in Reno while others ” such as skiing ” would be held at Lake Tahoe. The 1960 Winter Olympics were held at Squaw Valley.
California state Assemblyman Ted Gaines, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and Daron Rahlves, a three-time Olympic skier who lives in Truckee, are among those pushing the idea.
“Competing for my country in the Olympic Winter Games was such an honor,” Rahlves said. “Living in Truckee, I also appreciate the legacy of the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Games. I believe Reno-Tahoe is ready to host the Games again.”
Cashell said he’s convinced the coalition is in a position to make the “vision a reality.” He said concerns about traffic congestion during construction could actually be turned into a positive.
“Aside from the worldwide attention we would receive, the Olympics provide a unique opportunity to provide much needed infrastructure improvements throughout the region,” he said.
The survey addressed that point by asking those who oppose hosting the games:
“If you knew that those construction projects would lead to improved transportation and infrastructure throughout the region, as well as a legacy of public recreational facilities, would that make you more or less likely” to approve of hosting the games?
Thirty-two percent said more likely, 4 percent less likely and 64 percent said it would not affect their opinion.