The governor, who has been leading talks with the team owners and local officials for months, said he has no agreement with Republican legislative leaders on a stadium deal yet. Republican Senate staffers have said Dayton will need to persuade at least some DFL legislators to support an eventual plan if a stadium is going to get built.
The governor said he wants to get the deal done, but doesn't care whether the stadium is in Arden Hills -- where the team has a deal with local officials -- or if the stadium is eventually built in downtown Minneapolis.
Dayton met with legislative leaders Monday to talk about the stadium situation and emerged with a special session plan. Republican lawmakers appeared cool to the idea.
In another sign that the DFL governor wants to be center stage at what remains a politically-divisive issue, Dayton said that he would “take the lead in terms of negotiations with the [National Football] League, with the Vikings.
“I’ll meet with everybody and everyone who has a stake in this, at one location or another,” said the governor, again leaving open the possibility that the project could still be built in Minneapolis, where the team has played since 1982.
But Republicans, who hold majorities in both the House and Senate, reacted tepidly to the rush to approve a public subsidy package for the Vikings. Koch and Zellers said that until there was a specific proposal it would be hard to predict what would happen.
Both Koch and Zellers described a one-hour meeting with Dayton and others Monday as largely exploring stadium issues that had been debated before. Koch said the meeting consisted of “some of the same ideas that have been kicking around. “
In an indication of the fast-moving events now surrounding a new Vikings stadium, team spokesman Lester Bagley said the Vikings’ construction company had assured the team that should legislators approve a public subsidy package in November the stadium would open in 2015. “We believe it is aggressive,” said Bagley, the team’s vice president of stadium development and public affairs. “But it’s achievable.”
Bagley said the draft legislation for a special session was 90 percent complete, and would specify that the project be built in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills.
Bagley however said it was difficult to begin lobbying legislators on a possible public subsidy package because the source of the state’s $300 million was not yet known. “Do we have the votes for it? It’s a different question if the source is racino, or a jersey tax or [state] bonding,” said Bagley, referring to several possible state funding sources.