The plan to win legislative approval for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium moved forward late Thursday – by an inch.
After days of delays, the chief House author of stadium legislation said he had received details of the team and Ramsey County’s plan for building a $1 billion stadium in suburban Arden Hills. The details, which were not immediately released, were broadly expected to follow an agreement announced last week by the team and the county to build the 65,000-seat stadium on the site of a former munitions plant by 2015.
The latest development showed that the proposal – with just four days left before the Legislature adjourns -- still had a slight, but diminishing chance of being approved before Monday.
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said late Thursday he had just received the proposed legislative language for the stadium, but had not yet studied its details.
“Every day that goes by there’s less chance that we’ll be able to get it done, but we haven’t given up yet,” he said.
The language, if approved by Lanning and others, would be inserted into legislation introduced last month to reflect the new agreement between the Vikings and Ramsey County.
Under the agreement made public last week, the Vikings would pay $407 million toward the new stadium, with the state contributing $300 million and Ramsey County raising $350 million largely through a half percent county wide sales tax increase.
The project however faces multiple hurdles, including a state assessment that $131 million in road improvements will be necessary near the new stadium. Gov. Mark Dayton, a supporter of a new stadium, has said that any state road improvements would have to be deducted from the state’s $300 million contribution.
In addition Republican leaders, who hold majorities in both the House and Senate, have said they would not consider stadium legislation until an agreement was reached with Dayton on a plan to solve the state’s $5.1 billion budget deficit. The DFL governor and Republicans remain far apart on an agreement, increasing the possibility of a special legislative session.
A state judicial panel has recommended Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and three others to Gov. Mark Dayton as he looks to fill two vacancies on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.