The D.C. Council has approved spending nearly $170 million to help build a stadium for D.C. United of Major League Soccer. Stadium itself will be financed by the club.
Most of the taxpayer funds would go toward buying or acquiring land for the stadium on Buzzard Point in southwest Washington. Some would go toward infrastructure costs and tax abatements. The team would then spend about $150 million to build the stadium itself.
"It's about economic development, first and foremost, for the city. It's an opportunity for an area of the city that hasn't seen that movement,"
The bill was approved unanimously Tuesday after a last-minute dispute between the council and Mayor Vincent Gray about how to fund the project.
The city's attorney general argued that the council's funding mechanism was illegal, but Council Chairman Phil Mendelson disagreed and said it was important to force the mayor to pay for the stadium plan.
"It's worked well for baseball, it's worked well for the Verizon Center for basketball and hockey and soccer's the fastest-growing sport in the world," council member Tommy Wells said.
Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser abstained from voting on the funding mechanism.
"We're doing this for a lot of reasons," she said. "We know great cities like ours support arts and culture and sports."
The stadium will be completed in late 2017 or 2018.