Vikings’ stadium hits snag
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Gov. Mark Dayton and other supporters of the Minnesota Vikings’ bid to build a taxpayer-subsidized new stadium are facing long odds in keeping the proposal alive at Minnesota’s Capitol now that a House committee voted to reject it.
The House Government Operations Committee voted 9-6 against the stadium bill last night.
The legislative session is expected finish up before the end of April, and the stadium bill’s House sponsor said getting the bill through will be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
A Senate version of the stadium bill has been stalled for the last month.
Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ point man on the stadium push at the Capitol, said after the committee vote that the team was “extremely disappointed” at the outcome.
“I guess I would ask the state, what else would you expect us to do? What else can we do?” he remarked.
Dayton repeatedly has stressed he believes failure to help the team build a new stadium could result in Minnesota losing the Vikings to another city.
The Democratic governor, through a spokeswoman, declined immediate comment on the committee vote.
Dayton was scheduled to meet first thing today with Republican legislative leaders to talk about the final days of session, which is expected to wrap up before the end of April.
The developments of last night were likely to be a major part of the discussion.
In addition to tying the team’s future to Minnesota, Dayton has been touting the stadium proposal as a way to create thousands of construction jobs.
Bagley said the team would continue to push the proposal as long as the legislature remains in session.
“But this is extremely disappointing, and it sends a strong message to the Vikings and the NFL about the situation,” he warned.
He would not say whether the committee vote made the team’s future in Minnesota any less secure.
The proposal that fell in the House committee would have split the tab three ways for a stadium proposed to be built at the current Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.
While the team is committed to play in the Metrodome for the 2012 football season, it no longer has an active lease in the 30-year-old facility, and team officials have said they do not intend to sign one.