Governor Nathan Deal says the state still hopes to reach an agreement soon for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium, but questions on paying for a new facility continue to hang over the talks.
The Falcons' season may be over, but negotiations for a new stadium are not. The framework of a stadium deal was announced last month, but the terms for public funding of that proposal have hit a roadblock at the Georgia state Capitol. The key issue remains taxpayer involvement in the deal.
The goal for the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority is to build a billion dollar retractable roof stadium near the current Georgia Dome. Public opinion and legislative resistance have been running high against raising the authority's debt limit by $100 million to help to pay for the new facility.
Gov. Deal said that the initial request for the taxpayer-funded stadium commitment was "too high."
Still, the stadium cost is to be largely covered by the Falcons, and Governor Deal says that the state hopes to reach an agreement that will utilize other financial alternatives.
"We are working within the numbers that are out there. The current authorization levels as well as perhaps other options," Deal said.
At the same time, Deal says that the Falcons have made a good case that without a new facility, the current dome will need costly upgrades.
"So the argument is do you spend millions more dollars on repairs and perhaps even at some point having to replace the current dome roof, which is a major expenditure. Or do you go ahead and make an investment now that will be good for 20 years and we will have a commitment that the Falcons will remain for that period of time in Atlanta, Georgia," said Deal.
Other financing options for a new stadium include participation of "Invest Atlanta," which is the city's economic development agency.
Had the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl, would it have helped? FOX 5's Paul Yates says even though they won a key initial playoff game, and that didn't seem to put much of a dent into the resistance to the idea of increasing the debt limit.