There was a Minnesota Vikings stadium bill introduced Wednesday – but not the one Gov. Mark Dayton and others have been waiting for.
Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, introduced legislation to build a new Vikings stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills and use money from authorizing electronic bingo and pull tabs to help the state pay for it. The stadium, according to the legislation, would open no later than June 2016, feature a roof, have parking for 21,000 cars and have at least 65,000 seats.
The Vikings would contribute at least $425 million toward the project, according to Hamilton’s proposal. Ramsey County would contribute $10 million yearly “as funds are available” and the state would contribute $549 million for construction and $101 million for any needed surrounding public infrastructure.
The plan is similar to an agreement that the Vikings and Ramsey County have been pushing since last year – but which has fizzled because Ramsey County has been unable to develop a county funding source that key stadium legislators support. Hamilton's plan attempts to address that by substantially increasing the state's contribution to the project.
Dayton and the Vikings have since then been focused on building a new Vikings stadium at or near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, the team’s home for the past 30 years. After a meeting Tuesday with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, the governor said he remained hopeful – but not optimistic – that legislation for a Minneapolis stadium could be passed before the Legislature adjourned in late April.
Hamilton, a whip for the Republican House majority, has not been a major public player among legislators pushing for a stadium bill.