2 stadiums move ahead in committee Budget panels OK spending $270 million in city, Landover

'It felt very good'

Actions clear the way for full vote by Senate sometime next week

March 05, 1996|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Robert Guy Matthews contributed to this article.

In the first key votes on the legislature's most contentious issue, Senate budget panels endorsed yesterday spending about $270 million on football stadium projects in Baltimore and Prince George's County.

By a vote of 8-to-5, the Budget and Taxation Committee rejected proposals to strip out some of the $200 million for the Baltimore project and dedicate it to school construction.

The committee's action, led by a coalition of lawmakers from the Baltimore area and Prince George's County, clears the way for a vote by the full Senate sometime next week.

"It felt very good," said Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman John A. Moag Jr., who watched the committee vote. "It was good to get that level of support."

Earlier yesterday, the panel's capital budget subcommittee approved $70.5 million worth of road and infrastructure projects associated with the Washington Redskins stadium that team owner Jack Kent Cooke wants to build in Landover.

The 6-to-1 subcommittee vote suggested that the funding for the Redskins project will win strong approval from the full 13-member budget committee later this week.

Sen. John A. Cade, Anne Arundel Republican, was the only subcommittee member to vote against the plan, calling it "cockamamie."

"It's too much of a giveaway, as far as I'm concerned," Mr. Cade said.

Although polls show that a majori- ty of Marylanders still look unfavorably on the two projects, momentum for the stadiums appears to be growing within the General Assembly.

Legislative leaders say much of the momentum is because of due to their successful efforts to cut the state's costs for the projects by about $40 million -- money that now will be provided by the owners of the teams and Prince George's County.

Under agreements pushed by the legislature, Baltimore team owner Art Modell has agreed to contribute $24 million for the Baltimore stadium, while Prince George's County and Mr. Cooke have agreed to chip in $15 million for the Landover project.

Those savings would push the state's costs down to $233 million.

The budget committee turned back yesterday amendments offered by Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr., Montgomery County Democrat, to that would have shifted shift some of the Baltimore stadium funds into school construction.

One amendment would have diverted $18 million to schools while another would have prohibited stadium construction until the state has provided money for all eligible school building projects. Each was defeated 8-to-5.

Joining Mr. Van Hollen in voting against the Baltimore stadium were Sens. Ida G. Ruben, Montgomery County Democrat; D-Montgomery; Donald F. Munson, Washington County Republican; R-Washington; Patrick J. Hogan, Montgomery County Republican; R-Montgomery; and Thomas M. Middleton, D-Charles Charles County Democrat.

Voting for in support of the project were Sens. Barbara A. Hoffman and Nathaniel J. McFadden, Baltimore Democrats; D-Baltimore; William H. Amoss, Harford County Democrat; D-Harford; Mr. Cade; John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel; F. Vernon Boozer, Baltimore County Republican; R-Baltimore County; Ulysses Currie D-Prince George's; and Gloria Lawlah, Prince George's County Democrats; D-Prince George's; and Edward J. Kasemeyer, Howard-Baltimore County Democrat. D-Baltimore County; Gloria Lawlah, Prince George's Democrat; D-Prince George's; and Nathaniel J. McFadden, Baltimore Democrat. D-Baltimore.

Meanwhile, at yesterday's Baltimore City Council meeting, 4th district Councilwoman Sheila Dixon of the 4th District introduced a bill that would steer some of the ticket money from the Baltimore team into the city school system.

Mrs. Dixon wants $1 a per ticket -- about $480,000 each season -- to pay for a program that would allow city students who cannot afford bus fare to get to school. If passed, the bill would apply only for the two years the NFL team is scheduled to play at Memorial Stadium.

Also In another development yesterday, the Greater Washington Board of Trade endorsed the stadiums projects, citing both the economic development they may bring as well as possible negative effects should they be rejected.

Pub Date: 3/05/96

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