The Atlanta Falcons' new stadium has drawn its fair share of criticism. From complaints about personal seat licenses to controversial public financing, it's not been a seamless process. But construction is well underway, with a projected completion date in 2017. Like it or not, they're building this thing.
One big hurdle has been fundraising.
Moneybags McGee Arthur Blank is contributing $1.2 billion of the $1.4 billion bill. That last $200 million is coming from the public, or more specifically, hotel-motel tax revenue. Earlier today the Georgia Supreme Court approved the Falcons' use of that funding source.
"We are pleased with the Supreme Court opinion released today upholding the validation of the hotel-motel tax revenue bonds to be issued by Invest Atlanta as partial financing of the new Atlanta stadium," the Falcons said Monday in a statement."
The issue was whether the hotel-motel tax could be used to help build the stadium. This isn't an unprecedented move by the Falcons. Many others cities use a hotel-motel tax to maintain their sports facilities. A recycling of tourism-related revenue (84 percent of hotel revenue comes from non-residents) isn't the worst idea, at least in theory.
The argument against this approach focuses on the opportunity cost. In other words, is there a better use for that money? While there are other options, there's no ignoring the economic boost a new stadium will create. Blank will make a hard push for the Falcons to host the Superbowl in 2019, two years after construction is completed. The Dome is great and all, but it's quickly becoming an outdated, antiquated venue. If Atlanta wants to continue to host large events, they need a proper, updated facility.