D.C. United Bill Details Unveiled
Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George's) has begun circulating an amended version of her D.C. United bill, hoping to persuade doubters that her proposal will not commit Prince George's County or the state to building a new soccer stadium in the county but merely allow the idea to be studied.
Unlike an original draft of the bill that had attracted stiff opposition, the new version of the proposal eliminates any reference to the Maryland Stadium Authority floating bonds to pay for a new home for the team, which now plays at RFK Stadium in DC. Instead, the bill authorizes the Stadium Authority to conduct new feasibility studies, do an analysis of the possible financing for a stadium and perform up to 10 percent of the design work, to help elected leaders figure out how much it could cost.
How would these studies be paid for? The amended bill doesn't really spell it out--it appropriates no new money for the studies but does authorize the Stadium Authority to spend a portion of a $500,000 study fund it already gets each year for the soccer stadium. The bill would also authorize the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission to explore purchasing land for a soccer stadium and a new headquarters for the regional agency, but specifies local government would have to approve funding.
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) has asked WMATA to sell a piece of land at the Morgan Blvd. Metro Station for just this purpose.
Does it really take legislation passed by the General Assembly to authorize people to study an idea? Griffith says it does, particularly if consultants must be hired. But she said she hopes her colleagues, who have expressed skepticism about even discussing a new soccer stadium in the current economic environment, will understand her bill is not a commitment.
"This is not a shovel in the ground legislation," she said. "It's a gathering of the best information piece of legislation."
March 24, 2009; 9:49 AM ET
Categories: Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman
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