SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution encouraging another bid to host either the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics.
"I don't think there's a better place in the world to host the Olympics than right here in Salt Lake City," the governor said.
The resolution, passed quickly through the Utah State Legislature, will go with a delegation to PyongChang, South Korea, to be presented to the U.S. Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee. It indicates that Salt Lake City and Utah are "ready, willing and able" to host another Winter Olympics.
On Wednesday, the Olympic Exploratory Committee -- made up of Utah's political and business leaders -- unanimously voted to pursue another bid after receiving a report on what it would take to put on another event. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, which was internationally acclaimed and generated about $6 billion in economic impact to the state of Utah.
"What people realize is what a jewel this community is and how beautiful it is," said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
The report said it would cost about $1.3 billion to stage another Olympics. Jeff Robbins, the CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, said it was cheaper than the last time Salt Lake City hosted the games -- because we have venues still in operation.
"The infrastructure was meant to last maybe 20, 30 years and we’re kind of coming up on that and it needs refreshing," said Fraser Bullock, the former Salt Lake Olympic Committee COO and a member of this latest committee. "But still, we’re holding more World Cups and other Olympic competitions than anybody in the world here today, 16 years after the Olympics. That is an unparalleled legacy."
The committee said it preferred to bid for the 2030 games, but the USOC wants names by March 31 to pursue bids for 2026. The IOC has also had a trend of awarding multiple cities for subsequent games. With polling showing 89 percent of Utahns support hosting another Olympics, the mandate was for the committee to take action quickly to show that Salt Lake City was willing to host.
"We are ready and I am confident that all the work that was done by the Olympic Exploratory Committee, the number crunching, everything that went into that report is solid," Mayor Biskupski said.
Denver and Reno-Tahoe are considering pursuing their own Olympic bids, but Bullock said with existing infrastructure and a history of hosting a successful event, Utah had an advantage.
"I think we have such unique expertise and infrastructure here that the report says we have everything we need to go forward," he told FOX 13. "We have the team, the infrastructure, how could anyone else compete with this?"
Read the Olympic Exploratory Committee report here: