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Harris County Judge Ed Emmett voiced concern Tuesday that a bill filed by a veteran state senator jeopardizes the county's plan to revitalize the Astrodome, adding that county representatives would continue to try to persuade legislators to support the $105 million project.
Emmett said state Sen. John Whitmire's bill, the Harris County Taxpayer Protection Act, was misleading and that Whitmire's statements that some Astrodome renovation funds could be spent on Minute Maid Park or the Toyota Center were "demonstrably incorrect."
"This bill is an example of state government making it more difficult for local government to do its job," Emmett said.
Whitmire's bill would require voter approval for a county plan to spend $105 million to raise the floor of the iconic, domed stadium and create 1,400 parking spaces and space for events or festivals.
Emmett, a Republican, said the county would delay a "comprehensive analysis of future operation and maintenance needs at NRG Park" until the bill's fate were decided. NRG Park includes the 52-year-old Astrodome, NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and event venues NRG Arena and NRG Center.
At a press conference Tuesday in Austin, Whitmire and other state senators from the Houston area gathered to express their support of legislation that would effectively block - or at least delay - Emmett's plan.
For more: More on the Whitmire Astrodome bill.