In an eyebrow-raising decision, the City Council in Washington, DC, delayed deliberations on funding for a new soccer stadium until after the midterm elections. If the council approves the proposal, taxpayers will be on the hook for upwards to $150 million.
The city considers a land deal that will acquire property at Buzzard Point with expectations of erecting a 20,000-seat stadium dedicated only to soccer.
A deadline quickly approaches for this deal. The council has until January 1 to make the deal for a $300 million stadium to open by the summer of 2016.
The city councilors ponder putting up half the $300 million price tag, which puts the public outlay at a higher price point than other cities have paid for similar projects.
The council has already been charged with shady dealing with this stadium project by pushing off the deliberations until after election day, not to mention concealing from the public a report paid for by taxpayers that has been finished for weeks.
The plan seems to have stiff resistance from key members of the council, though.
Publicly-funded sports stadiums, even for high-dollar professional sports, rarely return much to taxpayers, who often pay millions more than projected costs.
It isn’t like Washington, DC, couldn’t use the $150 million in tax dollars elsewhere. The city has an unemployment rate higher than Maryland and Virginia despite a plethora of government jobs, a school system with a dismal graduation rate, rampant homelessness, and a homicide rate that, though much lower than in days of Marion Barry, creeped up last year.
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