Seattle Politician Against $180M Proposal For Safeco Field Upgrades
King County (Wash.) council member Dave Upthegrove spoke out "against a proposal" to provide roughly $180M in public funding to "spend on upgrades at Safeco Field," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. The proposal announced Wednesday by King County Council Exec Dow Constantine "would come from a 'hotel-motel' lodging tax that previously helped pay for construction of the Kingdome." The lodging tax currently is "paying off the debt for the construction of CenturyLink Field," which is "scheduled to be paid off" by '20. Constantine wants 12% of that tax' revenue "given to the Public Facilities District boards" that manage Safeco Field and other venues. Upthegrove said that is "ridiculous given more pressing priorities within the region." Upthegrove said of the Mariners, "We have to remember this is a private, for profit business. And a large one. It's a billion-dollar company that can afford to and can and should pay for their own expenses." Baker notes internal estimates by King County staffers are that the hotel-motel tax "would generate" between $177-190M for Safeco Field through '43. The Mariners on Wednesday announced a new 25-year lease agreement that will "keep the team at Safeco Field" at least through '43 with a "pair of three-year options beyond that." The team's current lease was "set to expire at the end of this season, and the new pact is not contingent upon the hotel-motel tax revenue" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/25).