PHOENIX-The Arizona Cardinals will have a new $335-million home.With less than 24,000 remaining votes to be verified, passage of Proposition 302, the measure to funding for a new stadium, appears eminent, with votes for leading those against by nearly 29,000, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

The issue now is where to build the domed, 72,000-seat facility. The Tourism and Sports Authority, the appointed board that will own and operate the stadium, began holding meetings this morning to continue their site selection process. The board has said that it hopes to choose a site by early next year, with construction beginning not long after. It’s hoped that the stadium could be open by summer 2004.

To date, four sites have been proposed, but others are sure to be posited, now that the measure has passed. The sites are: a 108-acre site at the southeast corner of Loop 202 and Loop 101 on the border between Tempe and Mesa; a site in Tempe near Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University, where the Cardinals now play; a 173-acre site at 99th Avenue and Thomas Road in the West Valley; and on a stretch of land along the Beeline High in the East Valley on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership, a booster organization, had proposed a 35-acre site in downtown on a parcel southeast of Bank One Ballpark, but that proposal never got past the concept stage.Where ever the stadium is placed, it’s expected to cost the municipality as much as $122 million in infrastructure improvements. According to state law, cities in Arizona can’t contribute more than $3 million toward the stadium without voter approval. Only the site on the Yavapai Nation is exempt from that law.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has plentiful land and cash reserves from its gaming operations. The West Valley site is estimated to cost $56 million to get it ready for a stadium. The Tempe/Mesa site offers the most central location and best transportation routes, but the highest cost for infrastructure improvements, which are estimated to be more than $122 million.

The $331 million needed to fund construction of the stadium would come from an increase in sales tax on rental cars and hotel rooms, which is expected to raise more than $1.8 billion over its 30-year life. Another $85 million is expected to come from the Arizona Cardinals, who would be the main tenants of the new domed, 73,000-seat stadium.

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