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Vikings stadium moves to special session -- maybe

Posted by: Mike Kaszuba under Funding, Minnesota legislature, State budgets Updated: May 23, 2011 - 1:15 PM
After a five-month session, the Legislature will adjourn late Monday without approving a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, or without having ever really seen a plan for the project.
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of the stadium proposal, said Monday that there remained road improvement issues with a plan to build the stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills. He also said there remained multiple problems with proposed legislative language that has been submitted – but not yet made public – by the team and the county.
So now it’s on to a special legislative session -- maybe.
The Vikings, despite the problems the project still faces, have made considerable progress. After a long search, the team has found a local government partner to help fund the project – in this case, Ramsey County. The county wants to raise a county wide sales tax in order to contribute $350 million to the stadium.
“It is of course possible if, there is a special session, for this issue to be before us,” said Lanning. “But as I’ve said all along, I’m not going to move forward with the bill until we have a [overall state] budget resolution in hand.
Secondly, he added, the questions surrounding the project – including who pays for as much as $131 million in state road improvements – have to also be resolved. “Both of those things have to happen,” said Lanning.
Lanning said that should the stadium plan be before legislators during a special session there would be “informational kinds of hearings” on the project.
Despite a tentative plan to use $650 million in taxpayer money for the $1 billion-plus stadium, legislators have not yet held a public hearing this year on the project.

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