Oakland’s efforts to keep the A’s in town took a major blow after the city was denied a federal grant that could have provided somewhere around one-third of the money needed to hold up its end of the proposed Howard Terminal stadium project.
It’s largely unknown where exactly the negotiations stand between the city and its last major professional sports franchise, but the U.S. Transportation Department’s decision not to include Oakland in its list of grant recipients makes a difficult project even harder. The city is anxious to craft a deal that does not rely on substantial subsidies from taxpayers.
“They’re looking under all the sofa cushions – federal money, state, county and city money, taxpayer money at all of those different levels,” said Nola Agha, a University of San Francisco professor and expert on sports economics who has followed the project closely.
City officials had sought the $182 million grant – a request to the federal MEGA program intended to help fund infrastructure projects around the country – to pay for street and transit improvements that would ultimately ease access to the team’s proposed waterfront ballpark and massive housing development.