Taxpayer dollars to help fund parking deck for Falcons - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Taxpayer dollars to help fund parking deck for Falcons

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

When Georgia state lawmakers approved next year's budget, they also agreed to use taxpayer dollars to help fund parking for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

The state legislature approved $17 million in bonds to expand parking at the Georgia World Congress Center. The parking will primarily be used for Falcons games.

"I think it's more important we educate our children, do the other things for Georgians that are necessary," said Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who didn't want taxpayer dollars paying for the parking.

However, Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, said the parking will be used for a variety of downtown attractions, including the College Football Hall of Fame. "I think there's absolutely a business case for this additional parking, and the fact that it benefits the Falcons stadium is just a plus. We would've done this anyway."

Fort pointed out he feels lawmakers slipped the funding into the budget bill at the last minute. "It wasn't in the House version or the Senate version … it just appeared out of thin air."

Hill said it's common for a conference committee to add and tweak the budget and that nothing out of the ordinary was done.

Gov. Nathan Deal must still sign the budget. However, he has line item veto power, meaning he could sign the budget and veto the parking funding. He has 40 days to review all of the bills, starting Friday.

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