The Virginia House and Senate passed competing legislation that would pave the way for a new stadium partially funded by taxpayers for the Washington Commanders in northern Virginia.
The Commanders, who changed their name from the Washington Football Team earlier this year, has considered a move to either Prince William County or Loudoun County, both of which are just outside of Washington, D.C. The bills would establish a Virginia Football Stadium Authority, which would be charged with financing the construction of the stadium and related facilities.
House Bill 1353, sponsored by Del. Barry Knight, R- Virginia Beach, passed the House 62-37 with some bipartisan support. The Senate version, Senate Bill 727, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, passed the Senate with stronger bipartisan support, 32-8.
The new authority would have the power to issue bonds to fund the $1 billion stadium under both versions of the bill. The project would cost about $3 billion and the team would need to invest about $2 billion for the project. The House version of the bill would require bonds to be paid back in 20 years and the Senate version of the bill would require the bonds to be paid back in 30 years.
Under the House version, the Commanders would be required to pay for at least 50% of the stadium naming-rights deal. The House and Senate versions would return 2% of the sales tax received from anything bought at the stadium back to the team. The Senate version would also give the team 2% of the income tax for salaries and executives back to the team.
If lawmakers cannot come to an agreement, they will need to enter a conference committee to hash out their differences and come to a compromise bill. Gov. Glenn Youngkin supports bringing the Commanders to Virginia.
The team’s current stadium, FedEx Field, is based in North Englewood, Maryland.