WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia Council last week approved nearly $200 million of bonds backed by payments in lieu of taxes and tax increment financing for the planned $1.1 billion Southwest waterfront project. But it is likely to be years before any debt is issued or a shovel hits the ground.

The massive redevelopment could possibly be slowed if district lawmakers were to approve debt cap legislation introduced last week by District Council chairman Vincent Gray, at the request of chief financial officer Natwar Gandhi. The proposed cap would hold the city's debt-to-expenditures ratio at 12%, which would result in no bonding capacity for at least several years for some proposed development projects.

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