Can Houston Afford Another Stadium?


Photo: ap

The Houston City Council approved plans yesterday for an $80 million soccer stadium to house Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamos. The decision comes as Houston struggles to pay for the three professional stadiums it already has (four if you count the Astrodome).Bond Buyer reports that the stadiums’ owner, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority,  is facing default on accelerated bond payments for the existing stadiums. The agency dipped into reserves last year to pay insurers for debt service it owes on bonds held by JPMorgan Chase, which moved payments up to 2014 from 2030. In September, Standard&Poor’s downgraded $475 million of the Authority’s debt to junk.

Houston faces a $120 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year.  To say nothing of its unfunded pension liabilities. 

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