Georgia World Congress Center Authority president Frank Poe told a forum organized by Common Cause Georgia yesterday that he hopes to have an agreement in place with the Atlanta Falcons for a new $1 billion stadium by December 31, with about $300 million coming from public tax revenues, in line with his previous statements.
Assuming the agreement is signed, what happens then will be an interesting question. The Georgia legislature voted two years ago to allow the GWCCA to take hotel-motel money that’s been paying off the Georgia Dome and use it for a new stadium; however, the GWCCA would likely still need its bond cap raised in order to borrow that $300 million, which would require another vote in the state legislature, which could be tougher than just getting Poe’s signoff.
Forum participants, meanwhile, pressed for more information on how much taxpayers would be on the hook for infrastructure costs, what the public would get in return for its investment, and other details that so far remain mysterious. With any luck, all this will get hashed out in public by the legislature once Poe and Falcons owner Arthur Blank emerge from their smoke-filled room. But it’s always a risky bet to count on state elected officials to do your due diligence for you, even when public opinion is dramatically on the side of “Wait, you want our money for what?”