Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed used his annual State of the City address Wednesday to pitch the city taking a financial stake in a proposed $1 billion stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
Reed compared a decision on whether the city should help fund a new retractable roof stadium downtown to replace the Georgia Dome to previous bold steps Atlanta took to build an international airport, launch MARTA and bid for the Democratic National Convention in 1988 and Summer Olympics in 1996.
Each of those, he said, was an example of “the right decision at the right time.”
“We’re here now,” Reed told a breakfast audience of political and business leaders at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. “We have a moment to make the right decision at the right time.”
Reed’s comments came hours before the Atlanta City Council’s Finance and Executive Committee was scheduled to meet with officials from the Falcons, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) and Invest Atlanta – the city’s economic development agency – to talk about financing options for the city.
An earlier plan had called for the Falcons to contribute $700 million toward the project, with the other $300 million coming from Atlanta and Fulton County hotel-motel tax revenue.
Under that scenario, the General Assembly had been expected to take up legislation giving the GWCCA additional bonding capacity to make the deal happen.
But when the proposal ran into significant pushback from lawmakers, Reed and other stadium backers expressed interest in having the city step up with the public portion of the funding.
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