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Now that an effort to secure public financing for a portion of the team's planned Sun Life Stadium renovations has failed, the Miami Dolphins are no longer planning to invest in upgrades for the 25-year-old stadium. Team CEO Mike Dee explained why on Monday, while criticizing House Speaker Will Weatherford after there wasn't a vote in his chamber on the Sun Life Stadium bill, NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports. Gov. Rick Scott said he was "very disappointed" there wasn't a House vote.
Now that an effort to secure public financing for a portion of the team's planned Sun Life Stadium renovations has failed, the Miami Dolphins are no longer planning to invest in upgrades for the 25-year-old stadium.
"To cherry-pick a few and pick some a la carte improvements that would maybe improve certain things without addressing the overall issue, we believe is not a plan that works," team CEO Mike Dee said Monday.
On Friday, the Florida House ended its annual legislative session without passing a bill approving a plan to partially subsidize $350 million worth of Sun Life Stadium renovations. Under the plan, the team would have paid for roughly 70 percent of that cost, with the remainder coming from state and local funds.
"We cannot do this without a private-public partnership," Dee said Sunday according to the Miami Herald. "At this time we have no intention of investing more."
On Monday, Dee called the end of the legislative session "profoundly disappointing."
"No fewer than four times did Will Weatherford say to us, the process will not kill your bill, I can't tell you that you have the number of votes and I can't deliver votes, but if you have the votes the process will allow for your bill to be heard," Dee said, referring to the House speaker.
Dee said Weatherford promised to let representatives vote on the bill, and the Dolphins said that after it passed the Senate by a huge margin, they had more than enough votes to pass it in the House. But when their polling showed Miami-Dade voters would pass the referendum on the stadium plan, too, Weatherford slammed the door, Dee said.
"The speaker's tone changed in the last week to 10 days, so I think as the momentum started to swing our way was about the time his message changed to us," Dee said.
Weatherford has said that it wasn't true that he had promised an up-or-down vote.
Weatherford also said Friday that the situation was complicated by the fact that multiple other sports teams were looking for state tax dollars.
"You had five or six different franchises that were looking for a tax rebate, and that's serious public policy. You're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars and I think the House just never got comfortable there when the session ended,” he said.
The Dolphins' proposed renovations to Sun Life Stadium were driven in part by the hope of landing another Super Bowl.
On Sunday, Dee said the inability to finance stadium upgrades will jeopardize the team's chances at hosting future Super Bowls.
"We clearly have our work cut out for us," he said. "Having a stadium that's competitive is, I think, probably comparable to having a good quarterback when you're playing football."
The NFL is expected to announce sites for the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls by May 22. Miami and San Francisco are competing for the 2016 Super Bowl, the 50th in NFL history.