Calif. Senate Backs AEG Bill

Anschutz Entertainment Group got what it needed from the California State Senate in order to move ahead on its proposed Farmers Field stadium project without the fear of time- and money-sapping lawsuits being allowed to drag on for years.

Bipartisan legislation to limit legal challenges and speed up construction of the downtown Los Angeles stadium passed on a 32-7 vote and was sent up to Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 9 for his signature.

The bill, SB292, fast-tracks the environmental appeals process so AEG can build its proposed $1.2 billion stadium near Staples Center more quickly. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-LA) said his bill would help create 23,000 construction and full-time jobs, in part because the stadium project would be accompanied by renovation of the city’s convention center.

Padilla said AEG promises to build “the most environmentally friendly sports stadium in the country.” In exchange, the proposed stadium would get an expedited environmental review process that supporters say would prevent the project from getting tied up by lawsuits.

Challenges would have to be filed in the court of appeal and resolved within 175 days after the environmental impact report is released.
“After eight months of conversations, negotiations and compromise with elected officials, today we reach another milestone for the development of Farmers Field,” AEG President/CEO Tim Leiweke said in a statement. The vote “sends a very, very strong message to the NFL that Farmers Field will happen.”

He said the development will let his company focus its efforts on completing an Environmental Impact Report to bring a team to the Los Angeles region, which has been without pro football since the Rams and Raiders both left in 1994. AEG hopes to break ground on the project in June.