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A Florida Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday for the Dolphins' stadium bill, in which taxpayers would fund half of a $400 million upgrade to Sun Life Stadium.
Stadium CEO Mike Dee testified that the renovation would help South Florida attract "four or five Super Bowls and four or five college [football] championship games" over the next 25 years, according to the Miami Herald.
Miami is bidding for the 2016 Super Bowl against the 49ers' new Silicon Valley Stadium. NFL owners are expected to choose May 22, putting pressure on the Dolphins to get the stadium bill approved. The bill must clear other committees and the Florida House, where it is expected to meet opposition.
Team officials say the renovation, including a canopy to shield fans from the elements, new scoreboards and better seating, could be finished in time for the 2015 season.
Taxpayer-funded stadium projects are always sensitive, but state Sen. Gwen Margolis (D-Miami) called this one a "sure deal."
"You know that they're going to employ more people," the Herald quoted her as saying. "You know that it's going to bring in more money."
The Dolphins want the mainland hotel tax to rise from 6 percent to 7 percent, and up to $90 million in new sales tax rebates paid out over 30 years, according to the Herald. Sun Life Stadium already receives $2 million in annual tax breaks.
Tuesday's vote by the Commerce and Tourism Committee was the first step in refurbishing one of the NFL's oldest stadiums.
Sun Life was built in 1987 and underwent a $250 million renovation in 2007.
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