The New Arena - A Good Deal (1/24/06)

The most recent analysis of Louisville's proposed new downtown arena estimates a final cost of around 349 million dollars - about 50 million more than initially estimated.

Predictably, some have jumped on that 50 million-dollar increase as evidence that the project shouldn't go forward.

But more importantly, that same analysis says the new arena project would generate more than $1 billion over 30 years, pay for itself and create hundreds of new jobs. And that's where our attention should be focused.

Governor Fletcher has asked the state's General Assembly for $75 million in bond authority for the project. However, many well-meaning people have argued that such a large amount of money should instead be spent on our schools or helping the poor.

But this isn't an either/or proposition. Spending money on education or alleviating poverty is never a bad idea. But investing the same amount in a major development project like the arena could give Kentucky a new revenue source that would provide a much more solid footing for such programs on a far more permanent basis.

Any successful investor will tell you: It takes money to make money. And our state legislators - especially the Jefferson County delegation - should keep this in mind over the next several weeks as they weigh Governor Fletcher's request.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.