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Monorail! Monorail!

I apologize for yelling at usual arena opponent Steve Cohn in the past. For he was won my heart, and I think he'll win yours too.

An arena at Cal Expo must be accompanied by significant improvements to ease traffic, stressed Cohn, who represents nearby city neighborhoods. Options could include a trolley connecting to downtown or to a light-rail station across the freeway.

"You might be able to do a bridge or a monorail or a streetcar under the freeway," he said.

Traffic problems? Pssh, solved.

Alright, serious update on the Cal Expo deal-io. The folks from the fairgrounds told The Bee the State Fair -- the biggest draw of the year by far for the expo -- was basically a financial disaster this year: projected attendance was 100,000 off the final tally. Revenues came in 9% lower than projected. The Fair made Cal Expo $2.3 million less in gross revenues than in 2006. And usually -- when revenues hit their marks -- the Fair barely covers its costs. Think someone's in the mood for an infusion? A Maloof-fusion even?

There's some debate within The Bee's story and other news accounts as to how far off we're from a detail plan. Rob Fong told The Bee it'll take all season; but the basic building blocks seem to be in place. The bulk of the funding will come from a revenue bonds (or revenue bond/s/, more accurately). It's like a big credit card with really big minimum payments. You sell bonds to investors, you use that money to rebuild Cal Expo, you use the revenues to pay off your bonds plus interest. That's the bulk of it, at least. The Maloofs should step in with a sum larger than last time; and the city might work out something with the land around current ARCO.

What's left to decide? How Cal Expo will be configured, what solutions (if any) are offered for the traffic problems, who will take in parking revenue, what's the timetable for fairgrounds-specific improvements versus the arena/entertainment district? And there's more. There's a lot more. But the basic finances -- it already makes some sense. Previous accounts even murmured the NBA already has a developer to get in on the commercial development aspect.

Two things are very clear:

  1. John Moag > anyone else who has tried to work on this thing in the past, including Heather Fargo, Lou Blanas, and the Rob Fong-Roger Dickinson team.
  2. Cal Expo kind-of needs this.