Dayton meets with NFL commissioner

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA and ROCHELLE O LSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 17, 2011 - 8:50 AM

The chief House author of stadium legislation, who also was to be at the meeting, hoped to hear that the Vikings and NFL might contribute more.

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Gov. Mark Dayton talks to reporters after a meeting Tuesday morning with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell, wearing a blue striped tie, stands behind Dayton.

Photo: McKenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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In one more sign of the last-minute push for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Gov. Mark Dayton and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were meeting early Tuesday.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of the stadium legislation, said he was invited to the meeting at the governor's mansion and wants to ask Goodell "what the NFL is prepared to do or not do" to help build a new stadium.

Lanning said he also hopes that Goodell might address having the Vikings and the league contribute more money to the project. "We would hope that would be a possibility, too," he said of the meeting.

With less than a week before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn, there were multiple signs Monday that Dayton and other stadium supporters were trying to find a way around several significant issues regarding the proposed $1 billion stadium in Ramsey County's Arden Hills.

A series of problems, including who would pay to improve the roads at the site, are proving to be vexing.

The stadium proposal has yet to have any hearings, and many legislators said they will not consider a Vikings stadium plan until the state's $5.1 billion budget deficit is resolved. There were signs Monday that Dayton and Republican legislators, who hold majorities in both houses, remain far apart on a budget deal.

Under a 12-page agreement released last week by Ramsey County and the Vikings, the team would pay $407 million toward the project, and the state $300 million. The county, through a half-percent sales tax increase, would raise $350 million.

Ramsey County commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, the county's two biggest proponents of the Arden Hills stadium plan, met Monday with the governor and Tom Sorel, the state transportation commissioner. Bennett said afterward that the meeting went "very well."

State transportation officials have said that the proposed 65,000-seat stadium would require at least $175 million in road improvements, a figure that the Vikings have disputed. Dayton and Lanning have said that the cost of the road improvements has to be deducted from the state's contribution.

Sorel, according to Bennett, is "trying to get his people to work with our people to get the right numbers. ... We have a short time to get there, but we'll get there."

The Arden Hills plan was unveiled a day after Minneapolis made its own pitch to keep the Vikings downtown. The city's proposal, which the Vikings rejected, calls for building a $895 million stadium on the Metrodome site with the city contributing $195 million. Minneapolis' share would come from game day parking fees, extension of hospitality taxes and a 0.15 percent sales tax. Under that plan, the team would pay $400 million.

At an event Monday night held by Internet news site MinnPost.com, Ted Mondale, Dayton's stadium manager, said he thought both the Minneapolis Farmers Market and Dome sites could be back in the picture if a stadium bill doesn't pass this year.

Staff writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this story. mkaszuba@startribune.com • 651-222-1673 raolson@startribune.com • 651-735-9749#

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