$3 Million in Taxpayer Money Spent On Stadium; Still No One Has Voted
This week, the Post-Dispatch reported that $3 million in taxpayer dollars has already been spent on a riverfront stadium project designed to keep the Rams in Saint Louis. This is up from about $1 million spent a little over a month ago. That money, which is supposed to go toward maintaining the Edward Jones Dome, is instead being spent on all aspects of the new stadium project. That includes engineering, financing, and railroad track removal. It also includes the legal fees of the attorneys suing to overturn a city ordinance that requires a public vote on funding a new stadium.
These tactics do not represent sound policymaking, but rather an attempt (by just a handful of leaders) to make an end run around deliberative processes that should precede public spending of this magnitude. Despite overwhelming economic evidence to the contrary, these leaders apparently believe that the stadium is a necessity and seem to have no qualms about spending money as quickly as possible and presenting the public with a fait accompli.
Imagine that the city ordinance is not overturned, or the Rams decide to leave regardless of the stadium plan. At that point the city and state will have spent millions designing a stadium, preparing to move tracks, and litigating with citizens. Residents will then have to choose between two options: Follow through on a new stadium (or some other grand vision) or throw all that “investment” away. Missourians should not be forced to make such a choice.