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:D I really hope this gets resolved before it really takes a turn in the wrong direction :D

 

 

Budger impasse could jeopardize arena deal

 

 

Saturday, June 30, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Gov. Ed Rendell and the Penguins turned up pressure on the state Senate yesterday to act on a bill critical to funding a new arena before the Legislature recesses for the summer, saying the project could be in jeopardy without it.

"The money is there but the Penguins have said that if the bill isn't passed in this session it could delay construction for a year and that might put the deal in jeopardy," said Chuck Ardo, Mr. Rendell's spokesman.

 

Mr. Ardo said Mr. Rendell is "doing everything in his power" to get the Senate to act on the bill, which provides $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward the arena construction.

 

The arena money is included in a new $1.6 billion fund for capital projects created as part of the 2004 law legalizing slot machine gambling in Pennsylvania. The law directs 5 percent of gross gambling revenue each year to the development and tourism fund.

 

Mr. Ardo said it would be an "absolute travesty" for the project to be threatened after state and local leaders worked so hard during the winter to reach a deal with the Penguins to build a new arena and keep the team in Pittsburgh.

 

In response to the statements, Penguins President David Morehouse said, "If this legislative session ends without arena funding in place, the entire funding structure for the arena and the arena project would be in jeopardy."

 

A delay could prevent the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority from issuing $325 million in bonds to fund construction. It also might allow interest rates to creep up, which could create a shortfall in the financing crafted as part of the deal with the Penguins, and conceivably could lead to a renegotiation of the terms.

 

The legislation already has passed the House but remains holed up in the Senate.

 

In an interview last night with KDKA-TV, Mr. Rendell said Senate Republican leaders told him they're not going to move the bill "because nobody cares very much about it except for me." He urged people to contact their senators to voice support for the legislation.

 

Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, said legislators outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are hesitant to act on the bill until a state budget is passed. She said they consider that their top priority, not funding for the arena or the Philadelphia convention center expansion in the bill.

 

Mr. Rendell is still battling the Legislature over the budget and the fight likely will stretch beyond today's deadline for adopting a spending plan.

 

Ms. Orie, Senate Republican whip, the third highest leadership post, believes the arena funding bill has a good chance of passing once the budget is resolved. She accused Mr. Rendell of using the threat of the project being in jeopardy as a "scare tactic" to try to force action.

 

"I believe it can get done. If the governor negotiated a budget instead of going on the radio it would make it a lot easier to get it done," she said, referring to Mr. Rendell's statements about the arena on a KDKA radio program earlier in the day.

 

State Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, criticized Ms. Orie for not doing more to get the arena funding bill passed. He said the Penguins deal is "very critical" for the region and should be a top priority for local legislators.

 

"It would be an extreme disappointment, if not reprehensible, for this not to get consummated," he said. "We need to get this bonding and this gaming bill done. It should not be held hostage to the budget."

 

Ms. Orie said it is a priority. She said the matter isn't helped by add-ons to the bill, including an extra $500,000 a year in the arena package, bringing the total to $8 million, for a "nonprofit community development fund to fund infrastructure, construction and redevelopment projects."

 

"That's the other concern. People don't know half the stuff being put in [the bill]," she said.

 

Mr. Ardo said the $500,000 could go to the Hill and other areas near the arena to fund infrastructure improvements "that would make the entire district a better place." Ms. Orie said the money "doesn't fit the criteria" for the bill and probably would be removed by the Senate.

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:D

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That really is a shame for Penguin fans. Mario tries to save the day, Sid tries to save the day, not sure what else can be done. I guess this proves that a superstar does not always save a franchise. People assume Durant can save Seattle but I would not be shocked if he and Crosby were playing in Vegas fairly soon.

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This entire thing is very frustrating. They make it sound like it is a done deal a couple of months ago and now this. I am at the point where I will believe it when I drive down town and actually see a new arena with my own eyes. Until then I will assume that it will continue to get f'd up somehow.

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:D

 

+1

 

 

This entire thing is very frustrating. They make it sound like it is a done deal a couple of months ago and now this. I am at the point where I will believe it when I drive down town and actually see a new arena with my own eyes. Until then I will assume that it will continue to get f'd up somehow.

 

Agreed. What's up with the politicians in PA other than hemorrhoidal brain tissue?

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hemorrhoidal brain tissue?

 

This makes me tihnk of Menudo.

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This makes me tihnk of Menudo.

 

:D

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