Chris O'Donnell writes surging subcontractor costs, land acquisition costs, and other amenities aimed at maximizing MLB profits could send stadium costs surging past $600 million. The story also gives a great breakdown of retractable roof pros/cons and costs.
But in his limited column-inches, O'Donnell doesn't address the public revenue streams the Rays may look to tap to pay for the stadium. Sure, there's plenty of time for that, but the real sticker shock is what the hundreds of millions of expected tax dollars could pay for instead of a baseball stadium:
- Fixing Tampa's immense flooding problems ($250M)
- Relocating the ConAgra eyesore from the middle of Tampa's growing downtown ($70M)
- Extending the Selmon Xway to the Gandy Bridge ($100M)
- The needed replacement of the Howard-Frankland Bridge ($367M)
In the broader conversation, I wonder if the focus on the expected stadium sticker shock and possible $600M+ price tag is doing the region a disservice.
That's because the local media is already doing such a good job setting expectations for the public contribution at $300M+ on a retractable roof stadium, while the Rays - and MLB commish Rob Manfred - are simply kicking back and simply enjoying the show. Yes, I know they are neither kicking back, nor enjoying the years of inaction...but the fact remains the team has refused to talk money.
This way, the Rays are now perfectly set up to "settle" sometime down the road for a fixed-roof stadium at a much lower overall cost...once the public has committed its chunk of the cash.
We should end the conversation about a retractable roof right now. The Marlins' don't use theirs, the region can't afford one, and the technology has come a long way since the Rays' last stadium foray in 2008.
As for the conversation about how many tax dollars the region should spend building the Rays a new park...you could always ask five economists what they think?
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