Without naming Arthur Blank, he said that he didn’t think another Falcons owner would be willing to pay 70 percent of the cost of a new facility, which he or she wouldn’t even own in the long run.
Mr. Blank has said that he would be willing to cover $700 million of the cost of a $1 billion stadium with $300 million coming from a hotel-motel tax. The Georgia Dome, the current facility, can be expected to last only 15 to 20 more years at best, the mayor said.
Mr. Reed said he particularly supported the deal because it would help the city’s tourism and convention business which attracts 37 million people a year and provides employment for thousands of residents especially “first-time employees.”
Mr. Reed’s efforts to join forces with business interests have not always turned out well for him, however, such as last year’s failure of the T-SPLOST transportation initiative that was quashed in a referendum.
While his remarks were primarily upbeat, he recognized the city’s public school problems including the “worst cheating scandal in the state of Georgia." He said he would actively recruit the best superintendent that Atlanta can find, no matter what the cost.
On a lighter note, he also said that he plans to synchronize the city’s traffic lights, one of his mother's highest priorities, which is to be paid by the city's proposed infrastructure bond package.
Mr. Reed is chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
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