Nevada lawmakers OK stadium for Raiders

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis saw his dream come true Friday when Nevada lawmakers approved a plan to spend $750 million in public funds to build a stadium for the Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas.
The bill to provide taxpayer money for the Raiders stadium was approved 28-13 and heads back to the state Senate for some minor adjustments.

Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed gratitude for the Nevada vote in a written statement.

"I would like to thank Governor Sandoval, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, and the members of the Nevada Legislature on this historic day," the Davis statement said. "All parties have worked extremely hard to develop and approve this tremendous stadium project that will serve as a proud new home for the entire Raider Nation."

In Oakland, many Raider Nation fans said they are furious that the Davis family would try to move the team again.

"As far as I'm concerned Mr. Davis needs to get the memo. He needs to understand taking this team away...I mean what's the benefit? For a new stadium?" said Gloria Bailey-Ray, an Oakland Raiders fan.

"The Raiders have a long history of saying they're going to leave for whatever reason. The Raiders need to stay right here in the Bay Area," said Oakland resident Cliff Ray.

The Las Vegas plan calls for a $1.9 billion dollar domed stadium that would seat 65,000 people. $750-million would be funded by a new hotel tax, $500 million would be funded by Davis, and $650 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Oakland has negotiated with Davis for more than six years over plans to build a new stadium in Oakland, to no avail.

In her state of the city speech Friday Mayor Libby Schaaf outlined her priorities for Oakland and the launch of initiatives to improve safety, education, roads, affordable housing, workplace development and restore public trust.

She addressed the Raiders stadium issue afterwards and said the city has a team talking with interested investors including Ronnie Lott and former 49-er owner Eddie DeBartolo, but taxpayers should not be asked to foot a massive bill for a new stadium.

"$750 million in public funding is not appropriate for a city like Oakland," Mayor Schaaf said.

Nevada state legislators worked past midnight into Friday morning after a surprise report about stadium-related road costs dropped late on Thursday.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story late Thursday indicating Nevada would need nearly $900 million in road improvements for the stadium.

Lawmakers were blindsided by the report after discussing details about the stadium project all day. It was dated Oct. 4 but didn't come to light until 10 days later.

The Nevada Department of Transportation director came in around midnight and explained that the projects were already planned, although the stadium could prompt officials to accelerate their construction timeline.

Oakland fans say while the turf and finances might look greener in the state next door, the Raiders cannot can not build a fan base as loyal and devoted as the one they have in Oakland.

Chris Dobbins leads the group Save Oakland Sports and says, in the end, if Davis refuses to stay in Oakland, some fans say Oakland should try what Cleveland did with the Browns, and get a new owner.

"When Cleveland lost the Browns, the city went out, they kept the name Cleveland Browns and when they got a new expansion team, they got it there. So we're not ready to say we want an expansion team, we want to try to keep the Oakland and Raiders name, but you know, that's definitely a possibility."

For now, the Raiders aren't going anywhere. Although Oakland doesn't have a counter offer on the table, any deal would need to be approved by a vote of the three-fourths of the NFL team owners. Their next meeting is scheduled for October 18-19 in Houston, when Mark Davis is expected to make a presentation.

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