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MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Dolphins are feeling encouraged after another day of committee hearings in the state capitol.
“We have real momentum and traction with our legislation in Tallahassee,” said Dolphins President and CEO Mike Dee.
The team looks for roughly 200 million dollars in public financing for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium. After approvals before two Senate and one House committee, the plan is getting it one step closer to a vote before the legislature. But there is still a long way to go.
“We’re playing this one game at a time and we’re taking this one committee at a time,” cautioned Dee.
The Dolphins say if they don’t go through the 400 million dollar modernization plan South Florida will not host Super Bowls or BCS Championship games, as well as international soccer events.
The team is also hoping tax payers will support a plan to allocate one percent of bed tax from mainland Miami-Dade hotels toward the upgrades.
Critics fear the public will not the ones benefiting.
“This is not about economic development,” argued Miami Republican Representative Mike Belica. “It’s about increasing the value of a treasured franchise in our community, not by increasing tickets sales, not by providing a better product to the fans, but basically coming up with mechanisms to increase share holder value to the expense of the taxpayer.”
Dee says there’s a lot of misinformation out there and promises that the team will end up paying a majority of the upgrade cost.
“I can assure you that bringing several hundred million dollars to the table in the form of private funding is no easy task whether through the NFL or through our own efforts,” said Dee. “However it comes to be, we look forward to making sure we do the majority of the heavy lifting.”
The plan still has to go through more committee meetings before getting to the full legislature for a vote. After that it would go to Miami Dade voters for a referendum.
Dolphins President and CEO Mike Dee told reporters late Friday that he had a productive work session with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
“We had a good working session today and negotiations continue,” Dee said.