Indiana Officials Say $48 Million Covered

City and state officials in Indianapolis say they have figured out how to cover the $48 million payment due to the Colts for breaking the existing lease agreement.

Indianapolis city officials and Indiana state officials say that $40 million of the disputed payment to the Colts, which put the new stadium construction in peril, will come from reducing the amount of funds built in to cover unexpected construction contingencies.

The $900 million plan included a ten percent buffer to cover unexpected costs or materials price increases. That $90 million leeway will be reduced to $50 million.

The other $8 million will now be considered part of the actual project and will be financed by a 30-year loan. That loan will be backed by the state and paid through new taxes on Marion County hotel rooms, car rentals and restaurant commerce.

Additionally, seven area counties are expected to charge a 1 percent food and beverage tax that should provide about $5 million a year toward the stadium and convention center project. So far, Hancock County is the only one that has approved the implementation of that tax.

Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) seemed optimistic yet cautious that the reduction in contingency funds would work.

"It's tight," he said. "I think it's critically important that we not have any other surprises or overruns."

Groundbreaking is set for August with 2008 slated as the inaugural season at the new facility.

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