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Soccer stadium funding bill is dead

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – St. Louis’ chances of landing a Major League Soccer franchise suffered a blow Tuesday as the alderwoman responsible for drafting a stadium funding bill said the legislation would not be moving forward.

According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia made the announcement at the city’s Ways & Means Committee meeting.

Ingrassia had proposed putting a sales tax increase before city voters in April to provide up to $80 million in funding for the stadium, which would be built in her ward.

The proposed stadium would be built on 24 acres of land just west of Union Station. The Interstate 64/Highway 40 exit ramps at that location would need to be moved. The city bought the property from MoDOT in September 2016.

The stadium has a projected $200 million price tag. The original funding plan called for $80 million in city funds and $40 million in state tax credits. The ownership group would cover the $150 million MLS expansion fee and contribute the remaining $80 million toward stadium construction, including future maintenance and cost overruns.

A spokesman for the ownership group said they had a two-hour meeting with Ingrassia on Friday, but she has not responded to phone calls or messages since yesterday.

"...until we hear from her directly, it's hard to respond to statements made in the media," the spokesman said.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"We have an ownership group that has committed itself to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the City of St. Louis to develop a swath of vacant land and bring a Major League Soccer team to our City. That's a great thing for St. Louis and Missouri.

"We remain committed to working with SC STL to develop a sound financial proposal to put before the voters. That said, we don't yet have an agreement. There are a lot of components that still need to come together, especially support from the State.

"I am confident that we will have a clearer picture of soccer's future by week's end."

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has until January 24 to approve any ballot proposition for the April 4 election.

Jim Woodcock, spokesperson for SC STL:

“We appreciate Mayor Slay’s comments this afternoon.  SC STL's goal is to bring an exceptional amenity to downtown that will serve St. Louis by generating tourism, creating jobs and enhancing the quality of life for residents of our region.  To that end, SC STL is committing $240 million in start-up funding, as well as taking full responsibility for facility maintenance and potential cost overruns.  We’ll continue to work with Mayor Slay and Governor Greitens on ways to bring a great project to St. Louis.”