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D.C. United Study Bill Approved by House Committee

Rosalind Helderman

By a vote of 17 to 7, the House Appropriations Committee has given a favorable vote to a bill allowing the Maryland Stadium Authority to study the feasibility and economic cost of building a soccer stadium in Prince George's County for D.C. United. But first committee members further amended the bill to reconfirm--really, truly, they mean it-- that nothing in the measure would obligate the state to spend a dime more than the study nor commit the state to ultimately building the stadium.

It is not yet clear if the full House intends to attempt to take the bill up twice before the end of the day, as would be necessary for the body to give approval to the bill before tonight's crossover deadline. After tonight, bills that pass one chamber are not guaranteed a hearing before the other chamber.

D.C. United President Kevin Payne said he believes the study, which Stadium Authority officials estimated would cost $150,000 to $200,000, is a good idea.

"We hope everyone will agree it makes sense to spend a little time to find out if it makes sense. That's all we ask."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 30, 2009; 3:44 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman  
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Comments

Congratulations to the 17 members who realize that a study is just that - a study. Would it be possible to get the list of approvers and dissenters and their districts to know whether opposition was based on geography?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Common sense prevails. Who were the seven dissenters and why would they oppose a study. A study for pete's sake! Seems pretty trivial to me. Vamos United!

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Sure -- a study doesn't equal approval of the whole idea, but it's a pretty good sign of where folks stand. That's why there were 7 dissenters. Why waste money on a study, if it's not something you an support? On the other hand, why approve spending money on a study, unless you're pretty receptive to the idea?

Posted by: fischy | March 30, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Sick of all this nonsense. Get on with building the stadium!!

I say we look to NoVa!!

Posted by: cfrazier91 | March 30, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Study has been already done. Why waste more fund - I repeat with you. Perhaps this is a different type of study with stadium desgin, land purchase, etc. Congrats for the first ever positive news. You won't regrat for approving this idea.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | March 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

... and Thank You, Rosalind Helderman, for keeping us up-to-date on this issue.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the feeling that the only way the state of Maryland will sign off on building a stadium is if DCU pays 75 percent of the construction costs...?

Posted by: Juan-John | March 30, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And Rosalind, thank you for professional reporting...no bull, no hidden bias. Given where this story has been, it's good to see journalism is still alive and well at The Post.

Posted by: seahawkdad | March 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Sure, let's waste more of the taxpayers money on a stadium for the people of D.C.. Let them have the Raljohn Redskins back along with the United.

Posted by: rcwsilver | March 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

We're sorry but we're going to have to do a way with programs for the elderly, programs for the young, you'll have to pay to visit the parks YOU OWN, We'll have to charge you for our services if you require an ambulance. But we have enough time and money to build a brand new stadium for a sport that has very little following. Even after 30-40 years of trying. MD is out of touch and I suggest a law suite to stop them from spending a single dime of tax payers money on this non sense. If DC United needs a stadium then I guess they better get busy.

Posted by: askgees | March 30, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Feh. Build something at The National Harbor.

Posted by: bs2004 | March 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Askgees,

They approved a study not the stadium. Read the report again and calm down.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@DCUnited football -- The original study was commissioned by the Stadium Authority. They are perceived as having a vested interest in the outcome -- so, no one is buying into their projections just yet.

On the other hand, since the National Capital Planning Commission might be a big beneficiary of the new development, I'm not sure that their conclusions won't also be seen biased in favor of the project.

Having been one of the 15,000, I was reminded how badly the team needs a proper stadium. Even standing up, I missed 50% of the play in the first half. So, I stood on my seat in the second half, blocking the views of those behind me. A new stadium with a properly sloped stands is needed. The loud side of RFK isn't horrible if everyone is sitting, but that's not the way it works at United games (and the quiet side seats are too far away from the pitch).

A new stadium would vastly improve the fan experience and would mean a lot more folks would turn out. Plus, with the planned cover over the seats, fewer fans will be dissuaded by a threat of rain. Don't judge the appeal of the team based on Saturday's crowd. It's apples and oranges.

Posted by: fischy | March 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@rcwsilver and askgees-
The financing plan is entirely comprised of funding from D.C. United and brand new tax revenue generated by the team and stadium. The proposed financing plans do not draw on the existing tax base or require lottery funds. No other goverment programs will be adversely impacted by the financing of this stadium. To learn more about the proposal, see the FAQ on dcunited.com

Posted by: DCWhoDat | March 30, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Why waste money on a study about a project that would draw people into Maryland and PG County to spend taxable money? To stop them from studying ways to make money I think we should bankrupt the system and stop all of the services we take for granted and sue them for trying to come up with ways to continue growing and fund projects that exist.

Posted by: sitruc | March 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Yea baby! Shagadelic! DC United rules!

Posted by: Gambrills4 | March 30, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@askgees -- This project has the potential to kick-start growth in the Landover/Largo area. That would boost the tax base, and provide revenues for more pressing, locality and state-provided services. Moreover, the financing is to provided by a bond issue. Not your taxes. This is also an apples to oranges comparison.

Posted by: fischy | March 30, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

fischy,

I understand the position but the study should be authorized by the opponents as well because it may prove them wrong. Or is that what they are really afraid of?

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow 41% of the HAC rejected even doing a study. Good for them. I think that this is a pretty good indicator of how receptive the county is in ultimely spending any dollars on a stadium at all.

If the county can barely get half the people to even do a feasibility there is no chance that stadium is getting built in PG anytime in the next decade.

Its about time we saw some attempted fiscal sense out of MD.

Posted by: Nosh1 | March 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

@Nosh1:
7/24 = 30%

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 30, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1,

Is that short for Nostradamus? You're being real presumptuous. If you think this is already over then you need to take poli-sci 101 all over again.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The United are going to kick-start growth in the Landover/Largo area??? Just like the development around the Cap Centre? Voting to spend 200 large on a study won't break the budget, but there'd be no need for a public study if the United were footing the bill.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 30, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Powerboater69,

United footing the bill would scream of partisan politics. The opposition would laugh off the results.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The United footing the bill for the stadium would negate the need for a publicly funded study.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 30, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Any study paid for by United would be considered to subject to a conflict of interest and therefore worthless, so the public money was a necessary evil.

Posted by: adrock77 | March 30, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Powerboater69,

Political Science courses are now forming................you may want to think about it.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 30, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I thought the sun was shining a little brighter today. Finally, some good news!

Posted by: Gambrills4 | March 30, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I still think that MacFarlane is going to negotiate up United's expense of the stadium. Maryland residents should at least wait until we've reached that state before being outraged.

Posted by: notafembot | March 30, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

This is the way local government's bide time until they approve it going into the election season late this year.

We really care about you citizens we are going to study this.

In other words they have already approved it but we have to make it look like they really care about the people.

As we all know stadiums and arenas are the key to economic success for outlying suburban communities with limited transportation options and budget deficits.

The new DC Coliseum or future mega church to Prince George's coming soon.

Posted by: Weave160 | March 30, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@Weave160,

My personal read is that this is Maryland's way of putting out a "counter-offer"--do a second study with more conservative projections as an elaborate way of saying "this is what we think it's really worth."

@PowerBoater69,
Could you please get the name right? It's just "United." No "the." If only for your own credibility, having the respect to name what you oppose correctly would be of benefit.

Posted by: stancollins | March 30, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

No offense PowerBoater, you must be that ol' gymbag that used to call himself "THE PB".... Here's a link straight from DCU's website:
http://www.dcunited.com/press-release/dc-united-issues-statement-0
Please read it, and stop being such a nerd.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 30, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The other thing I don't understand is all the credit your giving this lady...Here's her next blog post:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2009/03/not_so_fast_on_dc_united_bill.html

Posted by: DadRyan | March 30, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of crock on the citizens of Maryland by a bunch of NASTY CROOKS IN Annapolis by thier vote tonight. Study our citizens not some stupid soccer stadium

Posted by: truthbeebold | March 30, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Dam skippy, truthbeebold! And why the hell are there hotels in Maryland? Don't those Annapolisonian crooks realize that our residents, by definition, don't need hotels? All they'll do is increase traffic, and the money that they spend on infrastructure for hotels should go to schools that we can't fund as a result of not having hotel tax revenues!

Posted by: notafembot | March 30, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Democracy is dead in Prince George's County. The tax payers' said no to studies, stadiums etc.. And yes to housing relief, jobs, healthcare... This Area has one of the hightest HIV rates in the country, and one of the the highest infant mortality rates, I could go on and our representatives literally are saying, "let them eat cake"! I guess our tax money and vote mean nothing. That study money could mean jobs,life sustaining medications, shelter for the homeless, this is just insane!

Posted by: sstrother2 | March 30, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Do you people realize that building a stadium will create jobs? Do you realize that bars, restaurants built around the stadium will also create jobs and generate revenue for the county?
It's not going to be another FedEX field, DCU's owners are developers first and foremost. They're not in it because they love soccer, they're in it to develop properties and make money. If you don't want a piece you're crazy.

Infant mortality rates are a result of unfit parents, and HIV rates skyrocketing are one in the same. Absentee Parents who don't discipline their kids are your biggest problem. Not a Soccer team wanting to move to the neighborhood and offer opportunity to it's neighbors.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 30, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

"I guess our tax money and vote mean nothing. That study money could mean jobs,life sustaining medications, shelter for the homeless, this is just insane!"

Cmon, that is just plain stupid. The study is estimated to cost $150,000 which may be a lot of money to you and I but from a governmental perspective it is nothing more than a bead of sweat on your forehead. It can't come remotely close to doing the things you suggest. It's a study for pete sake, not the construction of a multi-million dollar facility.
The study is completely harmless. The only threat it is to stadium opponents is it may dispell their arguments which in the long run would be good for both sides. Now if you don't care if you are wrong and you oppose it whether it's a money maker or not then I don't know what to say to you.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 30, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

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