Gov. Mark Dayton and two Ramsey County commissioners wanting a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills pushed again Thursday for a special legislative session amid continuing indications that the project is at a political standstill.
Two days after Ramsey County agreed to buy a 430-acre parcel in Arden Hills that could be the site for the proposed $1.1 billion stadium, Dayton said he still believed the project needed a deadline at the state Capitol to get legislators to act on it. The governor met early Thursday with Ramsey County Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, the county’s two biggest boosters for the stadium project.
Bennett said legislators needed to weigh the stadium’s increased costs that would come by waiting until 2012, as opposed to having a special session before January. “[If] we go into next year, we’re talking $57 million more [for the project]. How much does it cost for a one-day special session? Ten thousand?” he asked.
“We’ll get a clearer, cleaner, better result if we just focus on that one topic rather than the mish-mash that exists at the end of a legislative session – plus that’s six months from now,” added the governor.
Although the Minnesota Senate announced it would hold two stadium hearings on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, there is no indication that a legislative proposal would be finished by then that would select a site for the stadium and detail how it would be funded.
The Vikings want to build the stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills, and have pledged $407 million toward the project. But state and local officials have not settled on a funding solution for the remaining costs, and there is significant opposition in the Legislature for a special stadium session.
In addition, Minneapolis business and political leaders are maneuvering to get the stadium built in that city, where the Vikings have played since 1982.
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