SALT LAKE CITY — The 15-member Olympic exploratory committee met Wednesday to create a timeline and dole out assignments in formulating a proposal on whether to host the Winter Games in 2022 or 2026.
Among the topics the committee determined to address are assessing venues, developing a budget, outlining a transportation strategy, community outreach and figuring out the advantages and disadvantages of Utah's competitive landscape compared to other potential Olympic sites.
"It's always been a combination of we can (provide the best environment) for the athletes and fitting with the Olympic movement of spreading the Games around the world," said committee member Kelly Flint.
Once completed, the proposal will be presented to Gov. Gary Herbert in May or June, according to committee co-chair Steven Price. Putting this report together is estimated to cost about $30,000, Price said, just a fraction of the estimated $10 million expense of pursuing another bid.
However, the recently implemented changes to the international bid process should make spending the money a better value than previously.
"It's a very formalized process," Price said. "You can go to the (International Olympic Committee) website today and look at the bid documents. Makes it equal for everyone."
He said the increased transparency improves the overall fairness of the process, giving cities like Salt Lake a much better chance to offer a competitive bid.
In addition, the Olympic landscape has changed over the years — as the Games have grown — putting metros like the Salt Lake City area at an advantage over smaller sites that have hosted previous games — such as Lillehammer, Norway.
"Salt Lake City has a competitive advantage because we have an international airport, major infrastructure with I-15 and I-80, we now have light and heavy rail … new hotels that have come to Salt Lake City, so there has been tremendous growth since our last bid," Price said.
A number of other cities have already expressed interest in a 2022 bid, including Denver and the Reno-Tahoe area and Bozeman, Mont. in the United States, along with St. Moritz in Switzerland, and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.
Price said the governor would eventually have a significant role in deciding whether Utah submits a bid to the USOC after reviewing the committee's report. The bid would have to be submitted by October 2013, according to committee adviser and former Salt Lake Olympic Committee chief executive Fraser Bullock.
While conceding that they are still in the preliminary stages of the bid process, Price said the committee would make its best effort to determine if Salt Lake could be as effective a host as it was in 2002.
"We need to look at the venues, the infrastructure, new Olympic events, and make adaptations for (changes to venues)," Price said. "From day one, it's been very important that this is an open and transparent process."