KANSAS CITY –- Backed by Mayor Kay Barnes, a new proposal for a downtown arena here calls for 60% public funding using a $4-a-day hike in local rental car taxes. The city council is expected to place the arena plan on the August election ballot.
Local car rental operators and managers have begun organizing a campaign against the rental tax increase. Supporters of the arena proposal contend it will revitalize the downtown area and help attract an NBA or NHL franchise to the city. The project's price tag is estimated at $225 million to $250 million.
The proposed financing package also requires a $1.50-per-night hotel tax as well as $50 million in private funding from Anschutz Entertainment Group, based in Los Angeles. Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns Staples Center.
Sprint has reportedly signed a letter of intent to buy arena naming rights. The proposal calls for the arena to open in 2007.