Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The Great Stadium Boondoggle
Oh cities, when will you stop giving money to professional sports teams to build stadiums for the rich suburbanites?!? One of the biggest travesties of the last decade has been the endless race to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to sports franchises to help them replace their older stadiums with new, modern ones.
News today out of New York City only confirmed this ridiculousness, as the estimates for the costs to the city's taxpayers to build these palaces for overpaid athletes continue to go up. As the Times reports, the Bloomberg administration has increased the estimates for the costs of aquiring necessary land, lighting and utility work. Both the Mets and Yankees are returning to the city with their hands out begging for more money in the form of tax-exempt bonds to complete the building of the new Yankees Stadium and Citi Field. Those'll total $341.2 million. Add that onto the $660 million in capital improvements and $500 million on previous tax breaks and you are looking at $1.5 billion thrown at a project that will benefit a very small select of people - the owners, those who can afford tickets to the games and the mostly suburban construction workers. Thankfully, New York City is pretty set in terms of public transportation, schools, job training, etc. Err, nevermind.
Eric at No Land Grab also highlights the fact that this is another case of Bloomberg fudging the cost analysis of a project and also asks a good question. For those looking for the economic destruction of the pro-stadium arguments, check out this devastating article by Andrew Zimbalist and Roger G. Noll which should make you want to scream. Ugh, what a ridiculous boondoggle, hopefully this will be the last money the city has to sink into this project.