The owners of the NFL stadium in St. Louis have sued the city trying to block a public vote on the plan to build a new stadium.
The suit challenges a 2002 ordinance that would require a public vote on the use of taxpayer money to build a new stadium. It asks that a judge rule that the ordinance doesn’t apply in this case, conflicts with state statute, or is unconstitutional.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) said a public vote isn’t needed because the $985-million plan for a new open-air riverfront stadium would use taxpayer dollars from sources that already exist.
“I think it’s important for us to maintain a state that has NFL franchises in two cities, and when we can do it with existing revenue streams, the way we’re doing, then I think that’s the way to do it,” Nixon told reporters Friday.
Nixon said if Missouri wants to continue to have two NFL teams, it doesn’t have time for the public in St. Louis to weigh in.
“In order to meet the NFL’s timeline and revitalize the riverfront of St. Louis,” said Nixon, “we need clarity to make sure that we can move forward in the timeframe as outlined by the NFL, but folks should make no mistake. When the NFL sets a timeframe of this nature and you’ve got other places competing, this taxpayer-friendly, cost-effective way to move forward that Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz and the rest of folks have developed, I think is the best way to move forward.”
Under the plan the City would issue new bonds to pay off the city’s debt on the current stadium and to provide capital for the new one, with annual debt service payments of $6-million or less.
St. Louis will also donate land to the project and provide tax-based incentives, such as tax-increment financing or creation of a transportation development or community improvement district.