United Independent Party founder EvanFalchuk joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan in Studio Three to talk about Boston's 2024 Olympic bid. Falchuk is pushing for a binding, statewide referendum to let voters decide whether or not the city will host the Games.

Falchuk's responses have been edited where indicated [...]. Questions are paraphrased.

Your qualm with hosting the Olympics here is the potential use of tax dollars, right?

What does the vision of the next decade of Massachusetts look like? Is it going to be focused on preparing for a few weeks of the Games in 2024, or are we going to deal with the really significant issues that we have around schools, the MBTA, and all the other priorities that we know exist?

The pro-Olympics camp says hosting provides Boston and the Massachusetts area with exactly what it needs — deadlines for structural improvements.

I don't think that that's a totally off-base notion. The problem I have is that they've done all this planning in secret, and haven't included people across Massachusetts on this. And the planning of which projects will get funded, which projects will get done, will clearly be tied to whatever benefits the Olympics, not on what is needed for the overall future of Massachusetts. [...]

The folks from Boston 2024 would also say, We're not asking for taxpayer money. [...] They keep saying it all the time. In fact, I was very interested last night [at a Lowell Olympic meeting]. When they've put out their bid documents they say that there's a $14.3 billion total budget, including $5.2 billion for needed transportation improvements they say are already paid for — or already in the pipeline, let's say. But when they were presenting it last night in Lowell, they actually said now it's a $9.1 billion budget, they just took out any reference to the transportation improvements that are needed. So, I don't quite get that.

So what does 'no taxpayer money' mean in your proposed ballot question?

For example, if people want to spend money to improve the Green Line, [...] we don't want to draft a referendum that says you can't do that because it's going to benefit the Olympics. So you have to draft it in a way that's smart. [...]

Where the real money comes from is that guarantee [...] that if there is a cost overrun, which has historically been over 200 percent for the Olympics, [taxpayers are on the hook].

How many signatures do you need to get on the ballot?


And then it's on the ballot?

Between now and September 1st we have to get our language approved by the Attorney General's office. As of September 1st we can then take it to the Secretary of State, who prints the actual forms that you have to use to get the signatures, which we'd have to have by September 18th. By the first week of December you've got to collect your signatures. So 65,000 certified means something significantly more than that — probably 80 or 100,000 raw signatures. There's limits from what county they can all come from. The point is, it's a lot of signatures. Then it goes in front of the legislature which could act or not on it. If they don't, then you can go out and get another 10,000 signatures. And then it would appear on the ballot in November 2016.

To hear the entire interview with Evan Falchuk, click the audio link above.