Council's vote speeds 49ers' scheduled departure from S.F.

The Santa Clara City Council approved Tuesday night a package of resolutions that include the opening of a new San Francisco 49ers stadium in time for the 2014 season.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the council voted 5-1 in favor of an $878.6 million contract for construction of a 68,500-seat stadium that would begin in July, about six months earlier than anticipated, and would finish by August 2014.

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In December, Santa Clara, Calif., approved an $850 million loan to help pay for a new stadium, which is slated to cost more than $1 billion to build. The 49ers also are getting $200 million in loans and payments from the NFL to help build the facility.

Santa Clara is 45 miles southeast of San Francisco and borders the city of San Jose. Its population is about 118,000.

A joint venture of Turner Construction and Devcon Construction will design and build the stadium, and the companies could pay as much as $20 million in penalties if the project isn't finished on time.

A group called Santa Clara Plays Fair is trying to force a referendum on the $850 million loan, saying that voters were not fully informed of the financial risks when they approved the project in June 2010.

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