LOS ANGELES - A group seeking to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles unveiled a massive environmental plan Thursday, laying out ways to deal with the traffic nightmare that throngs of fans could create around the proposed $1.4 billion downtown stadium on game days.
Required under a state agreement to make the planned 72,000-seat Farmer's Field environmentally friendly, Anschutz Entertainment Group said it will spend about $35 million to reduce the traffic footprint by, among other things, expanding the nearby U.S. 101 freeway and a commuter train station.
The environmental impact report has a goal of having 25 percent of fans use alternative transportation, with 5,000 people estimated to walk or bike to games.
"We have to change people's habits from the day they buy their first ticket," AEG president Tim Leiweke said at a City Hall news conference.
Leiweke said he hopes the stadium will be ready in time for the 2017 season and added that if an NFL team arrives before the stadium is ready, it can use temporary venues such as the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or the Los Angeles Coliseum.
After a 45-day public comment period, the report goes to the City Council. It also could face legal challenges but Leiweke praised the completion the $27 million report, which he called "the world's most expensive piece of paper."
"In terms of football, we are now in the offensive zone, not the defensive zone," Leiweke said at the news conference.
The report estimates the stadium could provide 11,000 permanent new jobs in addition to thousands of construction jobs, and generate $1.7 billion for the local economy.
The environmental review could be approved by late this year or the first quarter of 2013, Leiweke said. With a political plan and $1 billion in private funding in place, Leiweke said, "we'll be able to look the NFL in the eye and tell them there is no more excuse, there is no more reason, there is no more delay, and there should be no more negotiation on why we cannot bring football back to Los Angeles."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press