The city’s aging XL Center arena would get $115 million over two years as part of a budget plan that will be debated Friday by the state House and Senate.
Sen. John W. Fonfara, D-Hartford and co-chairman of the legislature’s finance revenue and bonding committee, told The Courant Thursday that the capital plan includes $40 million for the current fiscal year and $75 million for 2019.
The allocation is just shy of the $125 million sought by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, but higher than the $75 million approved earlier this year by the finance committee.
The amount included in the budget plan is close to half of the $250 million needed for a recommended, top-to-bottom makeover of the arena. The project has been envisioned as spreading over three or four years.
“The administration feels that…while they continue to look for a public-private partnership and examine options on how to make this work, this level of investment is needed now, and I agree with them,” Fonfara said.
Fonfara said he confident the funding will survive legislative debate.
If the legislature backs the plan as part of the much broader budget plan, the State Bond Commission would still have to approve borrowing the money.
The project has been controversial with opponents in the legislature arguing the state can’t afford to keep borrowing such huge sums when the state faces a spiraling deficit.
Supporters say a renovated arena is an amenity crucial to the revitalization of downtown Hartford and keeping the XL Center viable amid intensifying competition from the state’s two casinos and a new casino and entertainment complex that will open in…
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