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Canadian taxpayers buy billboard overlooking Trop to send message to Rays

“Quebec taxpayers can’t pay for another stadium for a part-time baseball team," the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Editor's note: The above video is from a previous story.

A group of Canadian taxpayers has a strong message for the Tampa Bay Rays. And they're making it pretty hard to miss.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation purchased a billboard along I-275 overlooking Tropicana Field that reads, "Dear Rays, Montreal won't pay for your new stadium. Sincerely, Taxpayers."

The billboard is a reference to the two-city plan that Rays' leadership proposed in 2019. The idea being that the Rays would start their season in St. Petersburg before packing up and moving to Montreal for the remainder of the year.

"The Rays are welcome to play in Montreal, but Quebec taxpayers aren’t going to pay for a new stadium,” said Renaud Brossard, Quebec Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.  

The group's argument is that a new sports stadium, especially for a part-time baseball team, would be a poor use of taxpayer dollars.

“The Rays need to know we don’t have hundreds of millions of bucks lying around,” said Brossard. “Here’s the reality: A new ballpark ranks way below fixing roads, supporting hospitals and reducing the heavy tax burden on struggling families.”

 According to the federation, a poll revealed that 60 percent of Quebecers were opposed to subsidizing a baseball stadium in Montreal.

The back-and-forth over the future of the Rays' stadium is a saga that dates back more than 10 years. In addition to the sister-city plan, a plan to move across the bay and build a new stadium in Ybor City is on the table. The Rays may also work out an agreement with the city of St. Petersburg to stay put.

You can keep up with the latest here.