Opposition to Atlanta Stadium Subsidy Reflects National Trend

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and city leaders in Atlanta are pushing to build a new $1 billion football stadium to replace the 20-year-old publicly-financed Georgia Dome. Amid tight budgets some elected officials are concerned with the plan.

"Maybe Falcons owner Arthur Blank should count himself lucky he’s on the verge of getting any public funding for a new $1 billion stadium," writes Greg Bluestein. "The billionaire’s tentative agreement with Atlanta’s mayor for $200 million in public funds toward the construction of a retractable-roof stadium comes amid growing public backlash for using taxpayer support to finance pro football facilities."

"Efforts to renovate or build new NFL stadiums in Miami, Charlotte and Minneapolis have faced the same sort of opposition that led Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers to punt the debate to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed," notes Bluestein. "Polls here and elsewhere have shown widespread opposition to the public financing of sports facilities, although Reed has said the support is much higher when only voters in Atlanta are surveyed. Yet despite the pushback, the public often ends up ponying up the money."

Not all local officials are on board with the project, however. “'A lot of promises were made in 1991 with the present Dome. Those promises to the community were broken,' said state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who worries infrastructure costs could bring the public’s share far higher than $200 million. 'Until that’s resolved, I’m not going to be supportive of it.'”

Full Story: Public funding for stadiums no easy sell nationwide

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