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Actually, they aren't. Cities—not countries—bid for the Olympics, though you wouldn't know it from the bill passed along to U.S. taxpayers. The heavy dependence on federal funds began with the Atlanta Games, for which Congress kicked in $610 million, eight times the $75 million allocated for the L.A. Olympics. Salt Lake City has taken the federal funding to a new level of excess. What, exactly, are your tax dollars buying? Here's a sampling.
?Parking lots are costing you $30 million. Some $12 million of that is paying for two 80-acre fields to be graded and paved for use as two temporary lots, then returned to meadows after the flame is extinguished.
?Housing for the media and new sewers are each costing you $2 million.
?Repaved highways, new roads and bridges, enlarged interchanges and an electronic highway-information system are costing you $500 million.
?Buses, many brought in from other states, to carry spectators to venues are costing you $25 million.
?Fencing and other security measures at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in northeast Salt Lake City—to protect patients and staff from the Olympic hordes—are costing you $3 million.
?A light-rail transit system that will ferry Olympic visitors around Salt Lake City is costing you $326 million.
?Improvements at Salt Lake City-area airports are costing you $16 million.
?Infectious-disease monitoring, food inspection and mobile medical response teams—aside from those specifically related to bioterrorism threats—are costing you $11 million.
?Testing programs to try to assure a drug-free Olympics are costing you $3 million.