SEATTLE -- An idea to bring professional basketball and hockey back to Seattle is one step closer to reaching the state legislature.
Representative Mike Hope (R, Lake Stevens) has drafted legislation that will fund a new arena. He believes it will not only bring an NBA team to Seattle, but a professional hockey team as well.
For Sonics fans, the 2007-2008 season was a long time ago -- that was their final season in Key Arena before moving to Oklahoma City.
Brian Robinson, co-founder of the organization Save our Sonics, is on a task force with Hope aiming to bring the NBA back to Seattle, but in a new venue.
"It's affected a lot of people who used to watch these games with their kids," said Robinson. "The fact that we could see politicians actually get something done would bring a lot of excitement to a lot of people."
The proposed legislation would require local and visiting professional athletes in the NBA, NFL and MLB to pay a fee for every game they play in Seattle. He says a lot of other cities already have similar laws built into their tax revenue. Hope says it would levy $140 million towards a new sports arena. He's also proposing specialty license plates for Sonics fans, generating another $10 million for bonds.
According to Hope, now is the time for the arena because construction costs are lower than they were in 2006, the last time the idea of building a new arena was floated.
Hope is optimistic the bill will pass because he believes it will gain bi-partisan support. He will be begin lobbying fellow lawmakers soon and officially introduce the bill in January during the regular session.