Atlanta Council Approves $200M In City Taxes To Fund Falcons' Stadium Project
The Atlanta City Council yesterday "voted to approve a funding plan" for a new Falcons stadium, "pushing the project over its biggest political hurdle,” according to a front-page piece by Suggs & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The council voted 11-4 in favor of using hotel-motel taxes to pay $200M toward construction costs, and "potentially several times that toward costs of financing, maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050.” The vote came after the Georgia World Congress Center Authority “approved the deal and left one more vote -- by the city of Atlanta’s economic development agency -- needed for the stadium project to move forward.” The board of Invest Atlanta, which “would issue the bonds to fund the public portion of the construction cost, is expected to vote" today. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed after the vote said, “The agreement we negotiated is one of the best (stadium deals) in America.” The new agreement stipulates that "no city general-fund dollars will be used on the project, including for related infrastructure costs; that Invest Atlanta will facilitate adoption of a community benefits plan before issuing bonds; and that the Falcons will increase their commitment to off-site roadwork and related costs" from a maximum of $50M to 70M if needed. Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay reiterated that the team “expects infrastructure costs to be well under" $50M. Suggs & Tucker report the stadium deal calls for 39.3% of Atlanta’s "seven-cents-per-dollar hotel-motel tax collections to go into the stadium project through 2050 -- the same percentage that currently goes into the Georgia Dome.” After covering “annual debt payments on the construction bonds, all money remaining" from the 39.3% portion would go toward "stadium operating and maintenance.” The Falcons, the NFL and PSL sales “would pay for about" $800M of the construction cost (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/19).