Fort Worth arena propositions win by wide margins


Ed Bass and Mayor Betsy Price address media after early voting numbers showed Fort Worth’s three arena propositions passing by wide margins. Photos: Scott Nishimura​

By Scott Nishimura

(UPDATE: With all precincts counted, Proposition 1 won 98,470-26,128; Proposition 2, 95,151-28,650; and Proposition 3, 87,878-33,801.) 

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(UPDATE, 10:33 p.m.: With 336 of 350 precincts counted, Proposition 1 is ahead 96,833-25,740; Proposition 2, 93,561-28,233; and Proposition 3, 86,435-33,263.) 

(UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: With 308 of 350 precincts counted, Proposition 1 is ahead 91,729 to 24,248; Proposition 2, 88,692 to 26,572; and Proposition 3, 81,847 to 31,357.)

(UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: With 216 of 350 precincts counted, Proposition 1 is ahead 78,059 votes to 20,589; Proposition 2, 75,808 to 22,583; and Proposition 3, 69,715 to 26,567.)

Three propositions to help fund a new multipurpose arena in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center complex were passing by wide margins Tuesday night.

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A proposed ticket tax had the strongest support, followed by a proposed tax on livestock stalls and pens. A proposed parking tax has the least votes of the three, but is still enjoying strong support.

The voters are saying “three things,” Ed Bass, the businessman and chief arena booster, told reporters after the early votes were counted. “They like the project. They want the project. And we’re supposed to build the project.”

“It really is Fort Worth it!” Mayor Betsy Price told reporters, repeating a slogan central to the campaign for the arena, which boosters view as a strong option in the DFW market for concerts, sporting events like basketball and hockey, graduations, and rodeo.

With 44 of 350 precincts counted, Proposition 1, to allow a tax of up to 10 percent of the admission to events, had 59,013 votes, to 15,798 against.

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Proposition 2, to allow a tax on livestock stalls and pens, had 57,681 votes, to 17,368 against.

Proposition 3, to allow a tax of up to $5 for parking, had 52,678 votes, to 20,343 against.

With the early vote counted, and no election day results:

Proposition 1 had 54,678 of the early vote, to 14,623 against.

Proposition 2 had 52,921 of the early votes, to 16,077 against.

Proposition 3 had 48,832 early votes, to 18,830 against.

The three taxes would make up about 15 percent of the estimated cost of the planned $450 million arena. Event Facilities Fort Worth, a Fort Worth nonprofit chaired by Ed Bass that has funded improvements at Will Rogers for years, has committed to raise at least half the cost of the arena and cap the city’s cost at $225 million.