In a move that could bring the Oakland Raiders one step closer to Las Vegas, a key Nevada committee Thursday unanimously passed a proposal to build an NFL stadium in the city.
The Oakland Raiders' owner Mark Davis, earlier this year, laid out his plan of moving the California-based franchise to the neighboring state of Nevada. There are a number of hurdles in the way of this proposal but a major one was cleared Thursday when the 11-member Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee approved the plan to use $750 million in public funds for a proposed stadium in Las Vegas.
“We are excited and thanks to the committee,” Davis told USA TODAY Sports.
“We get an NFL team, and that is a significant step forward for Las Vegas and the community,” the Associated Press (AP) quoted committee Chairman Steve Hill as saying. “Those teams bring the community together. We’re going to have people wearing Raiders jerseys and high-fiving each other ... That’s not something you can put a number on.”
The 65,000-seat domed venue would be partially financed by billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his company, the Las Vegas Sands, with $650 million going into the project. The Raiders plan to push in another $500 million. And, the $750 million in public money will be raised through hotel taxes in the tourism hub.
However, the proposal has to be passed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Legislature and three-quarters of NFL owners in order for the stadium — which will also house University of Nevada Las Vegas Football — to be a reality.
“I will not move forward until all questions have been resolved,” the AP quoted Sandoval as saying. “I am hopeful the work completed by this committee will serve as a roadmap to Southern Nevada's unrivaled and continued success.”
The legislators may also come under pressure from the public and this was visible from the gathering outside the committee’s meetings. Billboards urging people to “hold politicians accountable” on the deal, with the hashtag “Don't Screw This Up NV” could be seen along the interstate, the AP reported.
However, some felt that using public money to build stadiums for rich owners was unfair. David Williams, president of the watchdog Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told the Daily News, “It’s absolutely out of control.”
“There’s no reason taxpayers should be funding any stadiums. It’s the biggest waste of money that taxpayer money can be spent on, mainly because these owners are billionaires. They should be funding their own stadiums. Taxpayers should not be footing the bill,” Williams added.