VA House committee approves ‘Football Stadium Authority’ bill

A Virginia Senate committee will consider a similar bill on Wednesday that would create a group to fund a new professional football stadium in Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia lawmakers continue to consider a pair of bills that would tackle funding for a new professional football stadium in the Commonwealth.

On Monday, the Virginia House of Delegate Appropriations Committee approved, by a vote of 14 to 7, HB 1353.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, would create a leadership group to fund the construction of a new professional football stadium in Virginia. The Football Stadium Authority would also work to fund the construction of restaurants, retail, car parks and hotels around the football facility.

“Essentially, we’re going to have a big campus there,” Knight said. “It won’t just be a stadium. It will be everything I just mentioned. It will be a city center or, like, a mini-city area.”

The House version of the bill would also allow the stadium authority to issue bonds with terms up to 20 years to help fund the project. Knight said the authority would be entitled to sales tax revenue from transactions made at the stadium and surrounding facilities to pay off any debt.

“This bill, at the end of the day, is still a work in progress,” he said. .”

Representatives of the Washington commanders discussed with Virginia lawmakers in December the possibility of moving to the Commonwealth in December.

Sen. Jeremy McPike, D – Prince William County, told WUSA9 he has spoken with Commanders owner Daniel Snyder about the team’s interest in possibly relocating to Loudoun or Prince William counties.

Tray Adams spoke on behalf of Washington commanders at Monday’s committee meeting. Adams is also listed on the McGuireWoods Consulting website as the manager of its government relations team in Virginia.

He said the team has no plans to take over any existing properties wherever they choose to locate in Virginia.

“There is no intention to use eminent domain to acquire real estate to operate the facility,” he said.

Of the. Mark Sickles, D – Fairfax County, voted no on the bill. He said he wanted to see more of what Washington commanders could possibly offer the state.

“My ‘no’ to that wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t look at a more comprehensive package to see how much the owner actually puts into all of this downtown,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee will also consider another bill to create a football stadium authority.

SB 727, which is sponsored by D-Fairfax County Sen. Dick Saslaw, differs from House legislation in that it would allow the stadium authority to issue bonds with a maturity date maximum of 40 years. It would grant the stadium authority the ability to collect corporate tax revenue.

Knight said if both bills make it through the Virginia House and Senate, they’ll likely be compromised in a conference committee.

“We’re not going to do anything unless it’s primarily good for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.

Stadium authorities have been set up elsewhere in the region.

Maryland created the Maryland Stadium Authority to acquire the land on which Orioles Park at Camden Yards was built near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Both DC and Maryland executives have expressed interest in having the team play within their settings in the future. In January, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he would like the team to stay in his state.

“Our team worked together, Prince George’s County, state officials, along with team representatives,” he said.

WFT’s lease at FedEx Field in Landover ends in 2027.

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