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Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)


PROVIDENCE — Pawtucket Red Sox ballpark financing legislation lurched forward late Thursday as the House Finance Committee unveiled and quickly passed a new bill paving the way for a minor league stadium.

The 14 to 4 vote sends the bill to the full House, but it was not immediately clear if that vote would happen Thursday night.

The vote came roughly six hours after the committee was initially slated to consider a new version of ballpark legislation written by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's staff.

Lawmakers said a few technical details were being worked out, but Mattiello Thursday night would not comment on whether details were still being negotiated with the team.

The new bill, unveiled for the first time after 9 p.m., would repay borrowing for ballpark construction with team, city and state revenue generated from an area surrounding the stadium.

The stadium is expected to cost $83 million.

Unlike a Senate bill passed earlier in the year, in which the state which would have backstopped ballpark bonds the House plan developed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's staff includes no public guarantee.

As a result, the bonds are expected to cost more than they would have in the Senate version, but no estimates have been made public.

The Senate bill included up to $14 million in financing costs, including fees, capitalized interest, and a debt reserve. It did not include annual interest payments.

The new language tightens defining the catchment area where state taxes can be diverted to pay for the stadium.

But after the vote, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said he did not think the changes would negatively impact the ability to sell stadium bonds to investors.

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June 22, 2018


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