Florida House blocks Dolphins stadium bill

May 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM
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MIAMI, May 4 (UPI) -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross accused the speaker of the Florida House of playing politics after a bill to renovate Sun Life Stadium died without a vote.

Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford refused to bring the measure to a vote before the legislative session closed late Friday, sparking a rebuke from Ross, who said Weatherford had misled him.

"He put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami Dade, and that is just wrong," Ross said in a written statement.

Weatherford, who has denied making any promises to Ross on bringing the measure to a vote, said he and other opponents of the plan saw it as a bad deal for the public.

"Before we spend $300 [million] or $400 million in tax subsidies, I just think we need to talk about it and evaluate it more," he said.

The bill, which had passed in the state Senate, would have provided taxpayer support for a $350 million upgrade to the privately owned stadium. The upgrades were touted as a means of drawing the Super Bowl and other money-making events to Miami.

The Miami Herald noted, however, the recent deal to build a stadium for the Miami Marlins had even some Miami-area lawmakers opposing the plan.

Ross said Weatherford had blown a golden opportunity to support the region's economy.

"I will do all I can to convince my fellow owners to bring the Super Bowl back to Miami Dade," Ross said in his statement. "The (Super Bowl) bid committee has done a tremendous job to give us a great shot, and my only hope is that it is enough to overcome the terrible message Speaker Weatherford has sent to the NFL tonight."

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