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Ga. legislators introduce bill opposing taxpayer funds for new stadium | News

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Ga. legislators introduce bill opposing taxpayer funds for new stadium
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For a while now, we've been hearing from big-name supporters of a new open-air stadium for Atlanta, which would be the new home of the Falcons. Now, we're hearing from lawmakers who don't want the project to be funded by the public.

Three Georgia legislators have taken to the House floor, introducing HB 1871. The bill demands that "any contracts, leases, or purchases ... for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons be made with free market principles" -- basically, that it not be done with taxpayer dollars.

Two of the bill's three authors, Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R) and Rep. Charlice Byrd (R), spoke Wednesday morning with 11Alive's Matt Pearl.

"We would love to see a new stadium here and bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta," Rep. Dudgeon said, "but we feel very strongly that it's not the right use of taxpayer money."

Said Rep. Byrd, "There are so many other things we could be funding -- more funding for education or capital improvements. There are many other things beside a stadium."

The big-name support behind the project certainly isn't going anywhere. "It is a longstanding tradition that you build stadiums with public-private partnership," said Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. "That is the way the best stadiums in the country have been done, and I believe we should continue in that tradition."

The bill as it stands is more of a statement of opinion than a call to any kind of action. But it does stand as the first major official sign of opposition to the project -- or at least taxpayer funding of that project.

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