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PHOENIX-The City of Phoenix is making a goal line stand in an effort to stop construction of a $375-million football stadium in neighboring Tempe. Council unanimously voted Monday to sue the Tourism and Sports Authority.

The authority is the stadium owner and made the decision to take the project to Tempe. The Phoenix vote falls a week after the authority ordered $1.9 million in Belgian steel and sent work crews to the site. The authority previously has said Phoenix’s lawsuit is merely an attempt to undermine new development in Tempe.

Phoenix beseeched the authority to wait until Oct. 7 when the FAA will issue a final report before proceeding with its building plans. The authority balked because it said there was too much risk that Hunt Construction Group would fall further behind its fast-paced construction schedule that calls for completion by the 2004 football season. In July, work on the 73,000-seat stadium, which is at the northeast corner of the Red Mountain Freeway and Priest Drive, ground to a halt because the FAA said the site could pose a potential hazard to pilots landing at Sky Harbor International Airport. The stadium was directly in line with the north runway at the airport, which is about two miles to the west. The authority agreed to a 1,600- foot shift to the east so the stadium wouldn’t fall directly on the airport’s landing line. To accomplish the feat, the authority reportedly spent more than $15 million for an under-construction apartment project.

The FAA’s first site tour was set for last week, but canceled due to the terrorists’ attacks in New York City and Washington, DC. The FAA has not said if its report will be further delayed by the turmoil in the aviation industry.

Phoenix officials feel even the relocated project will force them to alter airport operations which, in turn, could reduce capacity and hinder efficiency. Earlier this month, the state Attorney General rejected a challenge by as promoters of a West Valley site, who argued Tempe was illegally selected because it wasn’t under consideration prior to November’s balloting on financing.

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