Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There's Two Parts In Partnership

The Falcons stadium deal has created much thunder but, in my opinion, not a lot of heat.

A quick recap. Falcon's owner Arthur Blank wants a new retractable roof stadium. His proposal is the team will foot $700 million of the deal and Georgia/City of Atlanta will fund $300 million via bonds issued by the Georgia World Congress Center authority.

The rub is the GWCC only has statutory authority to issue $200 million in bonds. Obtaining the additional $100 million would require the legislature to raise the borrowing cap.

This unusual situation has led advocates on all sides to question the need for any new stadium when $300 million or even $100 million could be used by the City of Atlanta in other areas like the Belt Line or MARTA.

Those are legitimate questions that need to be posed. However, considering the funds in play are generated by the city of Atlanta but are designated to service state owned facilities, speculating on how they could be used solely by the city is where the heatless thunder arrives.

Last night, WABE reported Governor Nathan Deal and Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed have schemed a way around the deadlock by using city backed bonds to float the extra $100 million.

This has caused stadium opponent Charlie Harper, editor of Peach Pundit, to draw a line in the sand,
And the City will soon come to the state asking for help with issues that do affect the entire region, and those in the suburban part of the region will point to the distruction (sic) of a Dome with 20 years of functional life remaining and laugh.
The issue which Charlie refers is transportation.

To which I glibly replied.
Because as we all know, they really have needed an excuse to say no over the past 40 years.
Apparently Charlie believes there is an opportunity here to put aside differences held in the past and tackle the difficult questions. Yet, while promoting a partnership between the State and City to solve our thorniest problems, over the past weeks he has castigated the Mayor for not stepping up and showing "leadership".

But here's the problem with that thought, every partnership needs a partner. What exactly has Atlanta received in the past when it has reached its hand out?

  • Atlanta asked the state for money to assist MARTA. Not only was Atlanta, Fulton and Dekalb told to pound sand, but the state created its own oversight board and dictated to MARTA how it would spend its own money

  • Atlanta, Fulton and Dekalb asked the state to help the region's only Level One Trauma Center (Grady Hospital) and was again told to pound sand

  • The Legistlature created the 2012 TSPLOST in an "effort" to untangle some of the transportation knots but once it became politically unpopular, washed their hands of it and left Mayor Kasim Reed as practically its only defender. Guess who got bloodied when it went down to defeat?
So here's my question for Mr. Harper. If we truly need a partnership, and I agree we do, when does the legislature plan to show any inclination to add their part to the partnership?

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