SBD/Issue 87/Facilities & Venues

DC Council, Nationals Differ On Infrastructure Spending

Costs A Point Of Contention
In New Nationals Ballpark

Some DC Council members said that the expenditure of over $18M to upgrade streets near the Nationals’ planned ballpark “would push spending on the ballpark beyond” the $611M cap, according to Nakamura & Stewart of the WASHINGTON POST. DCSEC CEO Allen Lew said that the budget “does not include money to handle transportation planning.” Several council members “criticized Lew’s testimony and charged that the additional public cost would constitute a violation of the stadium spending limit.” Council member Jim Graham: “At some point, the spigot has got to be firmly turned off.” Council member Kwame Brown: “The council has been pretty steadfast on no additional funds being spent on the baseball stadium.” But aides to DC Mayor Adrian Fenty defended the decision “to fund the transportation work independently of the stadium budget.” DC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Neil Albert: “This is not part of the $611[M] cap as DDOT planned to perform this work to support the many development projects in this area. It does not count against the stadium budget” (WASHINGTON POST, 1/25).

SPENDING SPREE: Nationals Owner Ted Lerner said that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at last week’s owners’ meetings “‘lectured us’ for 90 minutes about the dangers of spending too much in free agency.” Lerner: “In the real estate business and in some of our other businesses, there seems to be some sanity to it. People continue asking me the question, ‘Are you having fun?’ The answer is, ‘On occasion.’” Nationals co-Owner Mark Lerner said that while he “didn’t believe it made sense for the Nationals to invest heavily in a free agent market that he called ‘shocking,’ the club plans on raising payroll” in ’08 (WASHINGTON POST, 1/25).
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Facilities, MLB, Washington Nationals

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