How Oakland losing out on $180M grant impacts A's ballpark plans originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
While the A’s and City of Oakland have yet to reach a development agreement for the Howard Terminal ballpark project, both sides now seemingly face a significant setback.
As first reported yesterday by the San Francisco Chronicle, a hopeful $180 million “Mega Grant” from the U.S. Department of Transportation will not be awarded to the project’s offsite infrastructure needs.
“I assume it’s true,” said Dan Kalb, Oakland City Council Member representing District 1.
Oakland was aiming to get all, or at least some, of this federal funding through recent legislation to secure essentials needed for the projected ballpark neighborhood. Instead, it will get none.
“We knew it wasn’t a very likely thing, but nevertheless, it was appropriate for us to apply and try all avenues, and we did,” Kalb said.
That leaves Oakland well short on funding to pay for things like roads, overpasses, sewer and other basic amenities that the current neighborhood already needs upgraded, ballpark or not.
“Future federal infrastructure financing could be available to apply for other grants, but that could be a year down the road, or more. We don’t have those things now,” said Kalb.
Despite the obvious wrench this presents to a project that already is facing severe time constraints, there is new optimism that Alameda County could be of assistance. Like Oakland, the county also will collect tax revenue on new properties at the project -- some of which could go back to the project.
“There’s no assurance here, but we believe it’s likely that the county will do all, if not most of their [tax] increment. But they’re doing their analysis. They’re a separately elected body, and they’ll decide for themselves,” said Kalb.
Oakland already has secured some monies to bridge the cost gap, but with time and inflation, the exact figures and percentages remain a moving target.
“While we haven’t given up hope, it may cause a delay in figuring out what we’re doing here,” said Kalb.
On Monday, Oakland inaugurated Mayor Sheng Thao along with two new members to its City Council. It’s the beginning of a calendar year, where MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the city of Oakland have seemed to set an unofficial ultimatum.
“If a year from now we’ve had no movement, then it’s just not going to happen,” said Kalb.