Maryland governor signs pro sports stadium measures

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a measure Tuesday that would make up to $400 million in bonds available for development around FedEx Field in the suburbs of the nation’s capital where the NFL’s Washington Commanders play, whether the team stays there or not.

The governor also signed a separate bill that increases bond authorization for both Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles, and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens. The measure allows borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium, up from a current cap of $235 million.

The plan for the area around FedEx Field in Prince George’s County doesn’t allow money to be used for a new stadium for the Commanders. A county plan calls for developing the area into a transit hub with new residential, retail and entertainment amenities.

The measure authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to use money from the state lottery to build infrastructure in the county. The funds for development will be available even if the Commanders leave the state when their lease in Landover expires in 2027.

The team, which has played at FedEx Field since 1997, has been looking into new stadium possibilities for years.

Both Virginia and the District of Columbia are interested in luring the team away from Maryland. Virginia lawmakers have been working on an incentive package to try to bring the team to Virginia, which does not have a major pro sports franchise. Legislation in Virginia did not pass in the last session, though lawmakers are taking the matter up again in a special session.

Hogan did not take questions Tuesday during a bill-signing ceremony, but on Monday while speaking with reporters about the end of the state’s legislative session, he said the measure “wasn’t really about the Commanders.”

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen with them,” the Republican governor said, noting that his administration has been in discussions with the team for eight years.

Del. Jazz Lewis, a Democrat whose district includes the stadium, said that while he hopes the Commanders stay, the plan includes funds to revitalize the area, regardless of what the team decides.

“I’d like them to stay, but ultimately we got the flexibility for my community in case they don’t,” Lewis said Tuesday.

Hogan, who grew up in the area near the stadium, said the measure will create jobs and opportunities in a part of the county known as the Blue Line Corridor after the Metro line in the area. The governor has worked with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on the plan.

The legislation says resulting development could include a convention center, an arts and entertainment amphitheater and “any other functionally related structures,” including parking garages.

“We may have further announcements about the Blue Line Corridor this week, but it really doesn’t have much to do with the Commanders,” Hogan said.

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