Behind the numbers: At roughly 2.5 times what Greece spent on the 2004 Athens Games, China’s spending spree is far and away the biggest in Olympic history. Transportation carries the largest price tag. Beijing built a 14-million-square-foot terminal for its airport (one of the world’s largest enclosed spaces, according to The Wall Street Journal), along with 34 new bus routes and five new subway lines, one of which cost nearly $2 billion. Overall, construction has required 3 million tons of steel, including 110,000 tons for the $486 million “bird’s nest” national stadium alone.
From Foreign Policy Magazine