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February 19, 2009

Stadium ban dropped from stimulus bill

Atlantic Yards Report's Norman Oder, the hardest-working blogger in show business, reports that the final version of the federal stimulus bill deleted a proposed ban on stimulus money going to sports stadiums. The amendment, originally introduced by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, would have barred any use of funds "for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project." In the final language, parks, museyms, theaters, art centers, highway beautification, and stadiums were all stripped from the section, though Coburn's hatred of publicly funded zoos still made it into law.

This still doesn't necessarily mean a gold rush for sports teams to cash in on stimulus funds by declaring their projects "shovel-ready": The legislation still restricts funding to certain areas, like transportation or public housing, though there is a worryingly vague provision for "other government services." Lobbyists are probably Blackberrying frantically right now to figure out how wide they can force this loophole open; you think Al D'Amato types in ALL CAPS when he's excited?

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