Vikings stadium faces next high hurdle in House on Monday

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2012 - 7:00 AM

A voice vote in a key committee could let the bill live another day.

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The Vikings' proposal for a new publicly funded stadium will potentially face its toughest test yet when it goes before a third House panel on Monday evening.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee could be an important test for the project because it is chaired by Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, who has said she prefers a voter referendum on the stadium, which would almost certainly doom the $975 million proposal.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, has said that if the stadium can survive Peppin's committee, there's a good chance the proposal will get a vote by the entire House in coming weeks.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of stadium legislation, said on Friday that the stadium has "significant support" on the 15-member panel, which includes nine Republicans. But, he cautioned, "I would not hazard any kind of projection" on an outcome.

Lanning said that with the project likely to face stiff opposition, he was hoping for a strategy that would move the stadium ahead without a recorded vote, which might be more acceptable to reluctant legislators.

"The best we could hope for probably is a voice vote," said Lanning. He said a voice vote would allow the panel to avoid a definitive vote in order "to see this thing keep moving."

Lanning said, however, that he didn't know whether Peppin and the panel would agree to the maneuver.

The House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, which heard the stadium plan two weeks ago, similarly passed the project on a voice vote.

With time ticking away before the Legislature adjourns in coming weeks, the Vikings stadium plan faces an uphill climb. Although the project has passed two House committees, it has yet to be approved by a single Senate panel. Gov. Mark Dayton is a strong supporter of the plan and has urged legislators to get it to his desk this session.

The nearly $1 billion stadium would be built with $427 million from the Vikings, $398 million from the state and $150 million from Minneapolis, where the project would be located. The team would also add $327 million for the stadium's operation, and the city would add $189 million.

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

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