Out of Control Policy Blog

D.C. cave-in now official

Mayor Williams just signed legislation that will bring Major League Baseball back to D.C. Taxpayers might not be too pleased, but Williams is practically giddy:

"This is one of my proudest days as mayor," Williams said ... He called the signing a "symbol of how we are keeping our commitments. Yes, to Major League Baseball, but also to keeping our city moving forward."

There might be a mountain of studies that say stadiums don't spur local economies, but it's still pretty tough for any mayor to pass up an opportunity to go down in history as the one who brought pro baseball (or any sport) to town.

Here's a summary of how the city caved:

[Williams'] signature came after weeks of political wrangling as several members of the District of Columbia Council balked at an earlier plan to finance a new stadium along the Southeast waterfront.

Supporters and opponents of building a new, publicly financed stadium for the Washington-bound Montreal Expos watched officials amend their initial deal with Major League Baseball to include private financing. Big league baseball officials responded by suspending the team's promotional and business operations.

So Williams, Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp and MLB officials negotiated a deal that would allow some private financing. MLB and the city also agreed to split the price of insurance to cover cost overruns or construction delays.

We'll wait and see exactly what percentage of the total price tag "some" private funding translates into.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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