Reports indicate Virginia will establish a stadium authority to fund and build a football stadium for the Washington Commanders, to be located in Prince William County or Loudoun County. This is a bad deal in so many ways. Publicly subsidized football stadiums are invariably a bad deal for taxpayers, even under the structure proposed in Virginia. Academic research across the political spectrum outlines how stadiums are a bad deal for taxpayers, including in reports from GMU’s Mercatus Center and Brookings (for example: GMU’s Mercatus Center, and Brookings).)
Team owner Dan Snyder is going to be pitting Maryland, DC, and Virginia against each other to get the best deal for himself and not the public, and a location this far out from the core of the region would place it far from a large part of the fan base, leading to more driving, traffic and pollution. We also would not be surprised to see this Loudoun/Prince William proposal followed a pre-planned and related push for an outer beltway with an upper Potomac Bridge – at a cost of billions more for taxpayers.
Multiple studies in 1997, 2001, 2003-2004, and 2015 have shown that an outer beltway and upper Potomac bridge would not relieve existing traffic or address the priority travel needs in the region. Instead an outer beltway would fuel more sprawl development including putting pressure for development in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve and Prince Wiliam County’s Rural Crescent
While still too auto-dependent, the current stadium in Prince George’s County exists and it would be wasteful to tear it down or abandon it. But if a new stadium were to be built it should be wholly paid for by Mr. Snyder. Finally, we appreciate the team’s committed fans in Loudoun County, but there are committed fans across the region, and if there is to be a new stadium it’s best to locate it in or near the core of the region in a mixed-use center close to many transit options and designed for multiple uses.