It’s a real possibility, according to Lee Gibson, executive director of the Regional Transportation Commission.
Gibson on Tuesday told Sparks City Council members it would take a lot of work to develop the necessary transit system if Reno-Tahoe is chosen as the venue for the Winter Games, and said the RTC is contemplating what types of transportation would need to be in place to accommodate them.
What would hosting the Olympics mean for Sparks? Mayor Geno Martini asked Gibson.
Gibson said Sparks would play a major role because it has a significant number of hotels.
Jon Killoran, chief executive officer of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition, said the games “absolutely would” bring hotel patrons to Sparks.
“There’s not going to be an empty room anywhere in the area (if the Olympics are held in Reno-Tahoe),” Killoran said.
Killoran did caution an Olympic bid is not a “done deal” for Reno.
“It’s in the visionary phase right now,” Killoran said.
The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) selects possible host cities and invites them to make a bid for the Olympics, Killoran said. The next available cycle Reno-Tahoe could be considered for would be to host the 2022 Winter Games, but that will only happen if the USOC chooses the location.
“We have to work years and years ahead (to plan for the games),” Killoran said. “And we do that knowing it is out of our hands.”
Right now the local winter games coalition is working to bring as many sporting events to the area as possible in an effort to be recognized by the USOC, Killoran said.
Even though it is still in the “visionary phase,” hosting the Olympics could mean big things for infrastructure in Reno and Tahoe.
“We could be looking at passenger rails to Truckee,” Gibson said, emphasizing the word “could.”
The area hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960, when they were held in Squaw Valley, Calif.
A panel discussion on the Olympics will take place during Northern Nevada Transportation Collaborative’s Sustainability Summit on Dec. 13-14, Killoran said. For more information or to register, visit http://sustainability2010.eventbrite.com/.