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Bill provides funding options for downtown

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Gray Davis has signed a bill that could
help fund a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, officials said.

The bill, which opens up new funding options for downtown
revitalization, allows business owners to float bonds of up to 30
years and pay them off by assessing fees on themselves. It could be
used to revitalize the 240-acre Union Pacific railyard near Old
Sacramento, which could have a new Kings arena as its centerpiece.

The legislation, which Davis signed Sunday, would provide an
opportunity for new developments all over the state as well, said
Davis' spokesman Russell Lopez.

"The governor looked at the broader picture," he said. "Yes,
it could help here in Sacramento, but he's looking at the larger
perspective that if other cities choose to do this, it could help
them as well."

In Sacramento, the measure could help fund other projects along
the downtown waterfront, K Street Mall and near the Sacramento
Convention Center.

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo warned that passing the measure
does not mean the arena will be built, though she supports Davis'
move, and thinks a new arena would be a good idea.

"When something can bring 18,000 people to one location, 200
times a year, that's a lot of economic energy, a lot of
excitement," Fargo said.

Opponents of the measure say it goes against Proposition 218,
which asks local government to get voter approval before raising
taxes, fees and assessments.

The bill will become law on Jan. 1.