SBD/December 19, 2013/Facilities

Sacramento Transit Officials Ask NBA Kings For Surcharge On Tickets At New Arena

Officials believe as many as 20% of Kings fans could use transit
The city of Sacramento's light-rail operator "made a bid this week for a bigger piece of the action" in the city's proposed downtown arena for the NBA Kings, asking team officials to "impose a surcharge on arena event tickets to help pay for more trains and transit security before and after events," according to a front-page piece by Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Sacramento Regional Transit officials believe that the funding boost "could bulk up the transit system to attract" as much as 20% of Kings fans, up from the 7% that the Kings and city officials projected earlier this week. Transit officials said that they also would "like to see arena tickets double as transit boarding passes." Regional Transit GM & CEO Mike Wiley said that he "hasn't discussed a specific amount with the Kings, but an RT analysis suggests a 50-cent ticket surcharge could bring in the money needed to provide solid service for arena events." Bizjak reports early analysis "suggests the majority of people using alternative modes will come on light rail." Kings President Chris Granger said that it is "premature to discuss what arrangements the team might make with RT." The Kings also are "conducting focus group discussions to see what fans want." They "already have agreed" to a 5% ticket surcharge at the new arena and "likely will be cautious about layering additional fees and charges on event tickets." Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said that increased light-rail usage "would not compromise the city's plans to use future downtown parking revenue to finance its portion of the downtown arena costs" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/19).

TRAFFIC JAM? A SACRAMENTO BEE states the city's environmental impact report for the new arena "should calm fears that Sacramento's proposed downtown arena would create a traffic nightmare." The drafted report "concludes that the downtown street grid, which accommodates 100,000 weekday commuters, can also handle fans going to Kings games, concerts and other arena events." In addition, 10-15% of patrons are "expected to walk or take bus or light rail to the arena at Downtown Plaza." But there are "a couple of caution signs." For weeknight events, there would be an "overlap between workers leaving late from the office and fans arriving early." Still, the "generally positive assessment ... should not make officials complacent." To "avoid any problems, they need to look for ways to encourage the use of public transit and to shield midtown and other nearby neighborhoods from additional vehicles" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/18).
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