By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
December 7, 2012
The next time critics point to the questionable success of public-private partnerships to build sports facilities, tell them to look no further than Cowboys Stadium. In 2004, Arlington voters approved an increase of the city’s sales, car rental, and hotel taxes, to fund $325 million of the $1.2 billion project. Thanks to record tax revenue from 2005-2011, Arlington now is expected to pay back its Cowboys Stadium debt much quicker than scheduled. The city’s economy is doing so well that Mayor Robert Cluck says the debt should be paid off 12-15 years early, saving taxpayers more than $64 million in interest payments.
More often than not, “bad” stadium deals are the result of municipalities that overcommit funding. Throughout the entire Cowboys Stadium process, Arlington was adamant about capping its investment at $325 million, even as the total cost of the project ballooned from $650 million to well over $1 billion.