Gov. William F. Weld said last week he would support the state legislature if it wants to fund a proposed $700 million sports and convention center with general obligation bonds.
In July, Weld proposed that the Massachusetts Port Authority build the center, commonly referred to as the Megaplex. He said that $40 million of the proposed $57 million per year needed to pay for the facility would come from five floating casinos in the Boston Harbor.
Under Weld's plan, the remainder of the funding would come from $8.5 million per year from Boston's hotel and motel taxes, $6.8 million from the New England Patriots football team, and $1.6 million from general state funds.
But in hearings at the state House of Representatives last week, Weld said he would be willing to drop the widely criticized gambling provision from his proposal. It is anticipated that the legislature will abandon the idea of using gambling money to build the center.
The Megaplex could be used as a new home for the Patriots. But Weld and other state officials said the facility's 70,000 fixed-seating capacity and 600,000 square feet will allow the city to host major conventions.
Currently, Boston's largest convention facility is the John B. Hynes Veteran's Memorial Convention Center. But critics of the facility say it is inadequate for the city's needs.
Legislators may require that the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority handle the construction instead of the Massachusetts Port Authority.
Some state Democratic leaders have criticized the use of MassPort as a ploy to allow Steven Tocco, Weld's friend and economic adviser who is head of MassPort, to manage the construction of the Megaplex.
The proposal is scheduled to be debated for the remainder of this week before moving to the state Senate.