Accord Reached On D.C. Stadium
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp said last night that they had reached agreement on a stadium financing package that would satisfy Major League Baseball by guaranteeing construction of a permanent home for the Washington Nationals along the Anacostia waterfront. Under the new proposal, which the 13-member council is to vote on today, the city will purchase insurance for potential cost overruns on the stadium and split the payments with Major League Baseball. Also, District officials will continue pursuing private financing for the project for several months. But Cropp said she will drop a requirement that 50 percent of the construction costs be paid for with private money.
Reached by phone in New York, Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy said last night: “We are very hopeful that by the end of the day tomorrow, legislation will be in place consistent with the baseball stadium agreement that will enable us to return Major League Baseball to Washington.”
Meanwhile, opponents of the stadium deal continued to stand against the revised proposal last night. Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), who was among six council members who voted against the stadium last week, said that the new proposal from Cropp and Williams would still cost too much in public funds. Even if private financing is found for some of the costs, the city still expects to implement a gross receipts tax on large businesses and a utilities tax on businesses and federal offices. “This is materially the exact same thing the mayor sent over,” Fenty said. “It’s a publicly financed stadium with less risk, but still a publicly financed stadium.”
This does appear to be a rather cosmetic alteration of the original deal, presumably designed to allow Cropp to save face once she realized MLB wasn’t backing down. However, unless something changes, Fenty will now be in the minority–Cropp was the swing vote needed in the first place.
Update: Michelle Malkin is also unimpressed with the concessions Cropp negotiated. Nathan Brindle notes that the DC deal is wonderful compared to what Indianapolis just gave to keep the Colts from migrating to Los Angeles.