The day after the Minnesota Vikings announced the had a deal to build a new stadium in Ramsey County, Gov. Mark Dayton reiterated that the state would not pay extra to fund the more expensive plan.
According to the state’s Transportation Department, the Ramsey County site would require a minimum of $175 million in state highway improvements to work. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission said Tuesday that the Arden Hills site would cost as much as $1.28 billion; rebuilding the Metrodome in Minneapolis could cost $895 million.
“I think the numbers are clear -- $300 million from the state….If they can make that work then we have an agreement,” Dayton said Wednesday. “If the state has highway improvements are necessary as part of that then that gets subtracted from the $300 million.”
The governor said the highway improvements would come at a time when the state’s transportation dollars are short.
“It is very clear to everybody that here in Minnesota…that the state funding for highway construction is limited and we need to address that probably in the next session. But for the time being the projects are lined up and we not going to change the sequencing of the projects because of a project development,” Dayton said.
Regarding stadium bonds, he said: “The bonds that are going to be issued are not going to be paid with general fund revenues or general tax. They are going to be repaid with the proceeds from the stadium.”
Despite potential stumbling blocks, the governor said the deal could be done before lawmakers end the session on May 23.
“I believe we are on track that this could be done but obviously (we) still have to nail down the details and the financing and the cost and who is going to responsible for what,” Dayton said.
Asked if the team owners made the right decision by picking Ramsey County over Minneapolis the governor said: “I think hey made the right decision for themselves. They are very enthusiastic…and if they are willing to pay what it takes to do this then everybody benefits…The more they want to get involved, the more they want to put into this, then the bigger they can make this…then I think people will be excited by it and flock to it and it will be a great attracting in Minnesota.”
Dayton said he spoke to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf Tuesday morning, before the team announced they wanted to build a new stadium in Arden Hills, but not since then. He said he was available to talk to the Wilfs but Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commissioner Ted Mondale was his person on the project.