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MU Arena vs. Cardinals stadium plan

May 10, 2001
By: Aaron Cummins
State Capital Bureau

Two major stadium funding proposals face lawmakers as they head into the final days of the session. Aaron Cummins compares and contrasts the plans--

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6 days to go in the session... and the plans to help build a new ballpark for the Cardinals are still stalled... but state funding for a new basketball arena at the University of Missouri in Columbia is making progress.

Both proposals call on the state to issue bonds to fund construction. And in both cases, the state doesn't have to start paying off those bonds until 2005, but there's a big difference in how much the proposals are going to cost taxpayers.

Republican Senate floor leader Bill Kenney...

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Contents: Kenney says the MU arena program is much less expensive, with $35 million dollars in bonds issued.

But, over the twenty-year life of the bonds, the state would actually pay 60 million dollars to pay them off.

State Budget Director Brian Long says it's a lot like a home loan...just on a much bigger scale.

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Contents: Long says when you borrow money to pay for something you're going to pay a lot more when you pay it off.

In the case of the Cardinals stadium it adds up to 8 million dollars a year for 30 years.

That's four times the cost of the MU arena... or, 240 million dollars in taxpayer money to fund the ballpark.

But, Senate sponsor of the Cardinals proposal John Scott says the big difference in cost isn't the reason his plan is being held up while the basketball arena funding moves forward.

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Contents: Scott says moving the Cardinals would be like moving the capital out of Jefferson City-- it would be devastating.

Scott says that same devastation would happen in downtown St. Louis if the Cardinals move elsewhere.

But, Bill Kenney says that doesn't mean lawmakers are putting the stadium at the top of their priorities.

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Contents: Kenney says there a bunch of other issues that are more important to Missourians than the stadium.

Those issues include transportation funding, women's health care, and education... and, with only days remaining time is running out on a Cardinals stadium funding plan that is still several steps away from becoming a reality.

From the state capital, Aaron Cummins, KMOX-News.