GA legislators not sold on new stadium for Falcons - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

GA legislators not sold on new stadium for Falcons

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Georgia legislators could sideline the Atlanta Falcon's plan for a new retractable-roof stadium.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, and Rep. Mark Dudgeon, R-Forsyth County, both told CBS Atlanta they have concerns about the plan the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved with the Falcons on Monday.

"We already have the Georgia Dome which brings people here. It's only 20 years old. If we had nothing there it would be a different story. I think the timing is bad, right now just barely struggling out of the recession," said Dudgeon.

Dudgeon said he would love to see a new stadium built if it was built with only private money.

On Monday, the GWCCA approved the first step, a term agreement with the Falcons to build a new stadium.

The Falcons will pay 70 percent of the estimated  $1 billion stadium. The rest will be paid by revenues from portions of Atlanta's and Fulton County's hotel/motel tax.

"This is an opportunity to build a best in class structure," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed said Atlanta would be responsible for the infrastructure surrounding the new stadium. That includes the cost for improvements to the streets, sewer and sidewalks around the new stadium.

"We've cut $6 billion out of public education in Georgia over the last 10 years, now we're talking about giving a billionaire owner $500 million worth of public money," said Fort.

Georgia's General Assembly will have a vote when they convene in January on whether or not to approve a $300 million bond increase the GWCCA wants to use to fund the project.

"It's not like the $300 million will be going to something else. It's never did before," said Reed. "Keep in mind visitors to the city pay the hotel/motel tax."

"Yes, it's a hotel/motel tax primarily paid by people outside the area. It's still tax money that can be used for other projects," said Dudgeon.

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