Cuomo spoke during a campaign stop Friday in Buffalo as he seeks a second term. He was asked about the stadium in response to comments this past week by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that a new stadium was essential to the Bills' chances of staying in Western New York once they're sold.
"I certainly think it's possible," Cuomo said. "I don't know that a new stadium, that the NFL has been definitive that they need a new stadium, but I understand the commissioner saying that he's interested in one, and we're pursuing the idea of a new stadium."
The NFL has seen 16 of the 17 new NFL stadiums built leaguewide funded at least in part with public money. Only MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was built entirely with private money. Contributions range from $70.5 million of public money for FedEx Field in Washington (28 percent of the project cost) to $424.8 million for Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (94 percent of the project cost). The public also paid the entire $194 million cost for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the oldest in the NFL at roughly 40 years old. It's undergoing a $130 million renovation partially paid for by the state and host Erie County. That work should be done by August and is called for as part of the Bills' 10-year lease entered into in 2013.
But many people think the sales process for the team will include a new stadium. Cuomo founded a New Stadium Working Group that's investigating sites for a potential new stadium, among the Niagara Falls and Buffalo's waterfront. That group will also determine if a stadium is needed at all.
That comes as the team has brought in a California firm to do site studies on possible new locations. The state is conducting a study of its own.
The bottom line, Cuomo said, is it all depends on the price tag:
"It would be difficult and complicated, but if it was essential, I would support it. Now, the devil's in the details – where, how much and it's not just government money. It's private money, also, and the NFL."
New York state is contributing $1.5 million in tax money to build parking garages for Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The state is also forfeiting up to $7.5 million a year in taxes due to tax-exempt bonds it sold for the project. City taxpayers The state paid $74.7 million toward the construction of the New York Mets' CitiField in Queens. Millions of dollars' worth of tax-exempt bonds were issued to help build the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
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