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Alexandria Republicans join opposition to Potomac Yard arena

Map of Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

The Potomac Yard arena fight has created a fascinating mix of opponents and supporters who don’t adhere to strict political party lines.

While Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin and Alexandria’s Democratic local leadership took the stage last year in support of the plan, Alexandria Republicans today joined State Sen. Louise Lucas and other Democrats opposed to the arena.

A group of Alexandria Republican leaders signed onto a letter expressing disappointment with Youngkin’s proposal, calling it a $1.5 billion subsidy in state funding to billionaire Ted Leonsis.

According to the letter:

This is not the type of deal an ordinary retail establishment or restaurateur would get. Instead, it’s a deal reserved for the privileged and well-connected few. This goes against our vision for the future of the party and undermines our party’s values of fairness, transparency, and equal opportunity.

We believe in policies that benefit all Virginians, not just the elite few. We cannot support a deal that undermines these core principles.

The letter cites Washington Post reporting of the arena’s $2.2 billion price tag, with Alexandria contributing $106 million while Monumental would invest $819 million.

The letter said:

The projected burden on taxpayers is estimated to reach about $1.35 billion, encompassing $1.15 billion earmarked directly for the project. J.C. Bradbury, an economics professor at Kennesaw State University and president of the North American Association of Sports Economists, reviewed the study for the Post and noted that this direct cost surpasses that of any comparable facility on record.

None of this even considers the wider transportation improvements needed for Northern Virginia to accommodate the increased traffic, residential parking enforcement for Alexandria residents, increased police presence, or waste removal. Meanwhile, residents will face more traffic, noise, crime, and pollution around our fragile Potomac waterfront.

The letter concludes with a call for Youngkin to abandon the arena plan and urging for Republican lawmakers to “show political courage and oppose the deal.”

The letter is signed by:

  • Andrew Loposser, 8th District Chairman
  • Luisa Guerra-Young, Incoming 8th District Chairman, Founding Member of the Stop the Arena Coalition
  • Jonathon Hauenschild, 8th District State Central Committee Member
  • Annetta Catchings, Alexandria GOP Chairman
  • Matthew Hurtt, Arlington GOP Chairman
  • Matthew Lang, Candidate for Virginia Senate District 38

The letter is the latest hit of turbulence for the arena plan, which is running out of time to get legislative approval.

Even if the arena does get legislative approval it still must be approved by the Alexandria City Council. While all City Council members spoke positively about the arena at its debut, the Washington Post reported that at least three of the seven members of the Council have said they would reject the plan if labor unions remain opposed.

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