Top Virginia Senate negotiator vows to keep Alexandria arena out of the budget

RICHMOND, Va. — A leading Democratic Virginia lawmaker vowed Wednesday to keep language allowing a proposed move of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals to Alexandria out of the state budget that lawmakers will take up later this week.

Senator L. Louise Lucas, chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the top negotiator for her chamber in ongoing budget talks, reiterated her opposition to the project in an interview, saying that without her it could not be included in the spending plan. support.

“Based on the information I have, this is simply not a good deal for the Commonwealth,” she said. “And I just won’t give in.”

The development doesn’t necessarily mark the end of the road for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plan to lure the teams across the Potomac River with a $2 billion development district that includes a new arena. But barring some reversal, it is another blow to the proposal, one of the governor’s top priorities.

The budget was the last remaining vehicle for necessary legislation after Lucas effectively killed other standalone versions earlier this session by refusing to hear them.

Macaulay Porter, a spokesman for Youngkin, said the governor would have more to say on the subject Thursday morning.

Representatives from the teams’ parent company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, had no immediate comment.

Del. Luke Torian, Lucas’ counterpart in the House of Representatives, did not respond to a phone call or text message seeking comment.

Youngkin and entrepreneur Ted Leonsis, Monumental’s CEO, announced in December that they had agreed to a deal to relocate the Capitals and Wizards.

The plan calls for the creation of a $2 billion project, funded in part with public money, in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria, which would include an arena, practice facility and headquarters for Monumental, plus a separate performing arts venue, all just a few miles from Capital One Arena, where the Washington teams currently play.