A controversial new state law introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist and approved by the Governor in October 2009 will make it easier for the City of Santa Clara to facilitate construction of a new football stadium for the 49ers. Senate Bill 43 creates a new joint powers authority, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which will be exempt from the City’s competitive bidding rules and is authorized to award a design-build contract for the new stadium.
According to an October 28, 2009 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the stadium is estimated to cost $937 million. $114 million of this amount will come from public redevelopment funds and a new tax on hotel guests near the site. The remaining $823 million would come from private funds. While the new law allows the City to award a design-build contract for this work, it also requires that all subcontracts be competitively bid pursuant to the City’s requirements. The 49ers have said that the project would be in jeopardy if the team’s desired contractor did not get the job. Effectively, it appears that this new law will allow the City to treat this contract award as a “sole source” directly to the 49ers desired contractor on a design-build basis.
The bill is controversial in that it seems that it was designed specifically to create a special exemption to avoid competitive bidding for this particular stadium project. As discussed in a November 30, 2009 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, SB 43 is not the only bill recently passed specifically to help developers constructing new NFL team stadiums while avoiding applicable laws. ABX3 81 exempts developers of an NFL stadium in Los Angeles County from complying with applicable EIR requirements.