MLS stadium funding a little fuzzier as aldermen take no action on port authority measure | Political Fix

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MLS stadium funding a little fuzzier as aldermen take no action on port authority measure | Political Fix
MLS stadium funding a little fuzzier as aldermen take no action on port authority measure | Political Fix



ST. LOUIS • Legislation to expand the city port authority’s territory — and to help fund a Major League Soccer stadium —  faces further delays at the Board of Aldermen.

The bill was not brought up for a vote Monday at the final meeting of the board’s 2018-2019 session.

Steve Conway, chief of staff to Mayor Lyda Krewson, said it was unlikely that supporters could muster the two-thirds majority of aldermen present required to allow the measure to be brought up for final passage.

Conway spoke in an interview earlier Monday during the board meeting.






City of St. Louis Port District

The St. Louis Port Authority wants to expand its boundaries from just the 19 miles of Mississippi River front to the entire city limits. Other Missouri port authorities, which have broad authority to buy and sell real estate and issue bonds, have borders that stretch well beyond their river frontage.



He said city officials and the ownership group seeking a Major League Soccer franchise for St. Louis have yet to decide whether to continue including a 1 percent on-site sales tax to be levied by the port agency as part of a stadium funding package.

The authority’s boundaries must first be expanded to the entire city, including the proposed stadium site near Union Station.

Conway said he didn’t think the bill’s failure Monday would hinder the chances of getting an MLS team. “If you guys (in the news media) promote the negativity and the owners group reads it, well then maybe it could have some impact,” he said.

MLS owners are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles later this week. The league is considering adding one expansion team; MLS Commissioner Don Garber has identified St. Louis and Sacramento, Calif., as leading contenders.

Conway said the port authority expansion bill would be reintroduced in the upcoming 2019-2020 session that opens Tuesday but that it would not necessarily be used to help fund the soccer stadium.

“That’s not an absolute, that’s an option,” he said.

Other alternatives to funding the stadium also could be looked at by the city and the ownership group, Conway said. He didn’t elaborate.

The 1 percent port authority sales tax had been identified as part of a 3 percent stadium-only tax that would help fund the $250 million stadium project.

Conway said the port authority bill was important to the city even if it wasn’t used for the soccer stadium.

“The port authority expanding to the city limits gives all communities in the city additional avenues to fund redevelopment,” Conway said. “If we want the city to remain competitive, we have to have all the tools in our arsenal that our competitors do.”

As for the port authority expansion, some aldermanic critics previously said they worried that the measure would cede to the port agency aldermanic authority citywide over powers such as eminent domain. 



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