NFL stadium bill on way to California governor

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A bill to assist a proposed stadium project aimed at bringing the National Football League back to Los Angeles was approved by California lawmakers on Friday and sent to Governor Jerry Brown.

The bill to allow speedy environmental regulation review for the project won bipartisan support in the state Senate on Friday after clearing the Assembly on Wednesday.

Lawmakers from both parties said they backed the bill as a way to spark job growth. Between 20,000 and 30,000 jobs are projected to be created if the stadium is built in Los Angeles.

The stadium bill also sparked a companion bill to provide other types of construction projects valued at $100 million or more with faster judicial review of court challenges based on environmental regulations.

The companion bill is working its way through the legislature, which wraps up its session at the end of Friday.

Lawmakers are also taking up Brown's tax credit plans aimed at encouraging private-sector employers to expand payrolls.

California's unemployment rate stood at 12 percent in July, the second highest jobless level in the nation.

Despite being the most populous U.S. state's biggest city and the second biggest U.S. media market, Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since the mid-1990s.

Stadium backers say a modern facility is key to luring a franchise to move to the city.

Anschutz Entertainment Group would privately finance the stadium project, seen costing more than $1 billion. The stadium, named Farmers Field, would be next to Staples Center, which AEG owns.

The Anschutz Company subsidiary's project also involves Los Angeles selling $275 million in tax-exempt bonds to tear down part of its convention center to make way for the stadium. Lease payments for use of that land, parking revenue and taxes linked to rebuilding the convention center would pay off the debt.

Majestic Realty Co has a rival plan for a privately financed, $800 million stadium east of Los Angeles near where Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties meet.

(Editing by Richard Chang)