New Redskins Stadium a Bad Play

Everybody seemed to be taken by surprise by the announcement that Governor Larry Hogan is proposing a new site to keep the Washington Redskins in Maryland:

Maryland officials have not given up on efforts to keep the Redskins stadium in their jurisdiction. The office of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) acknowledged Friday the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Interior Department in September 2017 to give the state control over the 300-acre tract of federal land in Oxon Cove, adjacent to MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County. Hogan’s vision is to offer that site for a stadium.

The move is a more than a bit surprising. And probably not the best use of state resources.

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The tract of land, pictured above, is right off of the Capital Beltway and right near National Harbor and the MGM Casino. Anybody who drives through this area knows that it is now exactly the best place to drive, and there are frequent traffic delays on the Beltway and on neighboring roads in that area.

But that’s not why the site is terrible for a stadium. The fact is that the state should not be in the business of securing land from the federal government for the purpose of building any sort of athletic stadium. Certainly not for a football team that is incorporated in Virginia, has it’s training camp in Virginia, practices in Virginia, and where most of its players live in Virginia. The Redskins may be a “regional” team insofar as that the team draws fans from D.C., Maryland, Virginia and beyond, they are a Virginia based operation.

Let Virginia build them a stadium.

The Redskins current home, FedEx Field, was opened in 1997. It is certainly well within its usable lifespan and will be for decades to come. Back when the facility was opened, the state spent $22 million to pay for parking lots at the privately financed facility. One can only imagine how much more the Redskins will want out of the state in order to build at Oxon Hill.

This entire discussion brings back memories of Delegate David Moon’s bill last year to create an interstate compact between Maryland, D.C., and Virginia that would ban public financing for a new Redskins statement in all three jurisdictions. The legislation is a waste of time because I for one really don’t care what D.C. or Virginia does, but I do care about what Maryland does. But as unlikely as it seems there is common ground between fiscal conservatives and left-wing Democrats when it comes to funding football stadiums. And the Redskins shouldn’t get one dime of money from Maryland taxpayers, especially when they’re already playing in a facility state taxpayers helped them build.

And let’s not forget that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is worth north of $2 billion.

The discussion of a new stadium is unfortunate given the juxtaposition of the Governor’s concerns about the $4.4 billion in new education funding proposed by the Kirwan Commission. The Governor is absolutely correct when he says we cannot afford the Kirwan Commission recommendations as listed, but the effectiveness of that message is lost when we’re talking about state resources to build a football stadium.

Governor Hogan is wrong on this. If the Redskins want to go back to D.C. or go to Virginia, let them.

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