Aldermen pass funding for new NFL stadium -

Aldermen pass funding for new NFL stadium

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ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOV) -- The effort to build a new football stadium and potentially keep the Rams from moving back to Los Angeles passed a key milestone Friday when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted to fund the project.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted Friday afternoon 17 to 10 to fund the project.

Three NFL teams are threatening to move to Los Angeles, including the Rams. Team owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, California.

League owners meet next month to decide if up to two of the teams are allowed to relocate.

Members of the St. Louis stadium task force have said that even if the Rams move, a new stadium along the Mississippi River north of the Gateway Arch could lure another team.

A possible glitch in the plan is a letter sent Thursday from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and members of the stadium task force he appointed. Goodell warned in the letter that the league provides a maximum of $200 million to help teams build new stadiums, not the $300 million proposed in the measure before aldermen.

A message seeking comment from Nixon's office was not immediately returned. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment.

The original stadium task force plan called for $200 million from the league, but that was changed just before Tuesday's vote. Under the new proposal, the city would give up tax revenue in exchange for the additional $100 million from the NFL.

The league has set a Dec. 30 deadline for the stadium plan to be finalized. NFL owners meet Jan. 12-13 in Houston to consider proposals from three teams seeking relocation to Los Angeles — the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. In addition to Kroenke's L.A. stadium plan, the Raiders and Chargers have proposed a joint venture in which they would share a stadium in Carson, California.

Critics in St. Louis and elsewhere in Missouri say taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for yet another football stadium. The Edward Jones Dome opened 20 years ago, built entirely with taxpayer money. The dome is now considered outdated by NFL standards. The Rams played what was potentially their last-ever game there last night, beating Tampa 31-23. Their final two games are on the road.

Last month, Republican Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson sent Nixon, a Democrat, a list of 120 House members opposed to funding the stadium.

Stadium task force co-chairman David Peacock has said the new stadium will create jobs, revitalize a dilapidated area of downtown St. Louis and help the city retain its image by keeping the NFL. Major League Soccer officials have also expressed interest in perhaps expanding to St. Louis if the new stadium is built.

In addition to the city's $150 million and $300 million from the league, the St. Louis stadium proposal calls for $250 million from the team owner, $160 million in fan seat licenses, and the rest of the money from the state, either through tax credits or bonds.

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