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Tuesday, 1st April 2008

Public Benefits from Public Subsidies: Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Ways to Build the Marlins Stadium at the Orange Bowl Site

Public Benefits from Public Subsidies: Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Ways to Build the Marlins Stadium at the Orange Bowl Site (PDF; 634 KB)
Source: Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, Florida International University

The five research reports that immediately follow this introductory overview address the ways Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami might undertake the construction of a new, approximately $490 million stadium for the Florida Marlins at the Orange Bowl site in Little Havana. The public will cover the vast majority of the up-front costs of building the new stadium as well as improving the traffic and pedestrian infrastructure in the area around the site. The new, retractable roof stadium will be built with $445 million in up-front, public financing raised through city and county bond sales, including $50 million from the “Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond” (GOB), which was previously slated for the renovation of the Orange Bowl. Present plans call for the Marlins to pay back $162 million of the up-front bond subsidy by making rent payments over the term of their lease at the new stadium. The baseball team is also expected to cover some share of the overall cost although they recently retracted their offer to contribute $45 million. Despite the ever-changing plans, it seems clear that taxpayers will pay at least $445 million up-front.

The purpose of the reports is to determine the best way for the public to maximize the benefits it will receive from this half a billion dollar investment. In particular, we examine the different employment and contracting options facing the city and county, and the consequences of different choices between these options. The goal is to obtain a good value for the taxpayer’s investment, obtain stable and well-paying employment for county residents, sustain healthy communities, ensure fair and equitable treatment of all in providing employment, maximize incomes within the county, and enhance the skills and long-term career prospects for Miami- Dade workers.

To further these goals, the five research reports immediately following this introductory overview examine the five following issues concerning these two construction projects:

  1. The costs and the benefits of hiring permanent local residents versus hiring out-of-area workers;
  2. The consequences of not providing health insurance coverage to all workers employed on these projects;
  3. The benefits of using small and minority contractors for some of the work on the two projects;
  4. The advantages or disadvantages of using registered apprenticeship programs to supply a portion of the workers on these projects; and
  5. The comparative advantages or disadvantages of utilizing a “lowest-cost” contracting method versus use of a “best-value” contracting method of procurement.


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