Taxpayer-Financed Downtown Arena Rears its Head Again

Bad ideas never die. Thus, Albuquerque taxpayers were greeted with the headline “Downtown Arena Revisited,” this morning. While the article explains much of the story, you can only read it if you subscribe to the Journal. Thankfully, the story was covered elsewhere including KOB TV.
Certainly I knew that even though I’d debunked the need for a taxpayer-financed arena in Albuquerque a year and a half ago, Council will tonight vote on whether to spend $700,000 taxpayer dollars to study the issue. Obviously, since the arena and hotel complex are projected to cost at least $330,000, an expenditure of “only” $700,000 is a relative bargain. But we need to nip this rip-off in the bud.
The existing arena in Rio Rancho is struggling and, while that is far away from downtown, it certainly does not bode well for a competing arena in Albuquerque. Tingley Coliseum is also experiencing problems. Another arena is simply not necessary. Worse, the plan is to “double-down” a possible arena mistake by forcing taxpayer to subsidize hotel construction downtown. Why should taxpayers subsidize another hotel downtown when a vast majority of the hotels in this city (if not all) receive no such support?
Downtown is not just surviving; it is thriving. If a private entity wishes to build an arena or hotel anywhere in the city, Council should work with them, but demanding taxpayer support for this project is simply wrong and a waste of money.