Parking Privatization Key To Arena Financing

Sacramento desperately wants to hold on to its professional basketball team, the Kings, who have threatened to leave. A just-released financing plan points to privatizing city-owned parking spaces as key to providing funding for the new arena.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson looked forward to the "Nexus Report" that showed possible financing strategies for the arena. "A finalized package must be in place by next spring or the Kings' owners say they will seek NBA permission to move the team out of town."

"The plan could rely heavily on the 7,000 or so city-owned parking places downtown. Task force officials propose leasing the spaces to private operators in return for a big upfront fee, perhaps in the tens of millions of dollars.

A similar plan met with mixed results in Chicago, where the city leased 36,000 meters to a private company in 2008. The deal raised $1.16 billion in immediate cash but turned into a political debacle when the private company raised meter rates dramatically.

While many details remain to be worked out, the report does make clear what Johnson and other arena promoters have been saying for months: Voters won't be asked to approve a broad-based sales tax increase to finance the $387 million facility. An arena plan in 2006 based on a sales tax hike failed miserably at the ballot box."

Full Story: Arena plan relies on a hodgepodge of funding sources

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