The bill to renovate Sun Life Stadium has stalled in the Florida Legislature, but lawmakers still have five days to potentially act on it in this legislative session.
"In the last week a lot could happen," said State Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. "They're down to five days. They're running out of time and time is definitely on the taxpayers' side."
Some lawmakers are hopeful that the bill may still pass.
"The negotiations of this deal isn't done until the last day of session," said State Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach. "There's still some array of hope."
Late Friday afternoon, Ron Book, the lead lobbyist for the Sun Life Stadium legislation and the Miami Dolphins, told NBC 6 the stadium deal is far from dead, putting it in football terms.
“It’s the beginning of the fourth quarter in Tallahassee and big things happen in the fourth quarter,” Book said.
Meanwhile, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee took the media on a tour of Sun Life Stadium Friday afternoon, highlighting the improvements that need to be made, from rust on the stands that used to fold back to create left field for the Marlins to video boards that have pixels missing.
"They're going on their eighth birthday," Dee said of the boards. "By the time they'd be replaced they'd be 10 years old. In video board life, that's pretty much it."
The Miami-Dade County Commission has already signed off on letting voters decide whether the county should help the Dolphins upgrade Sun Life Stadium.
The goal is to make the stadium competitive with other new stadiums being built around the country in order to draw more Super Bowl games and other huge events.
The county and the team claim Super Bowls bring an estimated economic impact to the area of more than $500 million, but that number is disputed by many economists who say it's much lower.
The referendum calls for voters to approve or disapprove of the plan which would do the following:
- Raise the hotel bed tax from 6% to 7%; the team would get 75% of the revenue from that hike, about $7.5 million a year, for 26 years; the tourist tax will help the team generate about $289 million
- The Dolphins are required to pay the county back $120 million in 30 years
- The team is paying for more than half of the $350 million plan, which includes building a glass roof over the seating area, new lighting, new video screens, and bringing the seats closer to the field
However, the referendum will not proceed unless the state legislature approves the Dolphins' request to receive a sales tax rebate for items sold at the stadium, which would amount to about $3 million a year.
"We're convinced that the voters of Miami-Dade County will approve this," Dee said.
He said he is also hopeful about the legislature.
"We'll see, you know we're optimistic, we've got a week to go," he said.