Atlanta Braves fans worried about having to get to the new stadium by running across a six-lane highway, rejoice! The Cobb County Commission yesterday approved $10 million for a new pedestrian bridge from the planned parking lots to the stadium, which will surely — wait, what’s that, Atlanta Journal Constitution report from two months ago?
The preliminary construction budget is $9.8 million — an amount that does not include the $800,000 already spent on bridge design or an unknown amount for the purchase of property that will be necessary to build the structure.
Oh, right, the land — the county still needs to acquire that from its private owners, which may require eminent domain. (A county spokesperson told reporters of land costs, “The right of way is still in negotiations so we can’t release any figures.”) Also money needs to be found for an upgraded parking deck to connect to the bridge. Also also, nobody is really convinced that the bridge can be built for $10 million, so this could easily be one of those Robert Moses-esque schemes to build half of a bridge and then find the rest of the money later — as Moses liked to say, “‘Once you sink that first stake, they’ll never make you pull it up.”
The commission also approved another $13 million to widen a highway and create a new pedestrian plaza (not the one eliminated last month, I don’t think, but on the other side of the interstate). So add that to the known costs that the public is already on the hook for, and we’re at a minimum of $355 million in taxpayer subsidies, plus whatever the land and parking deck upgrades will go for. If it hits $400 million, don’t be surprised — this is what happens when you sign a deal to build a stadium project before you figure out how much it’s going to cost.