Vikings stadium plan gains a roof, and some traction

GOP plan relies on bonding, not gambling, for state's share. Dayton says idea is "worth pursuing."

The roof was off. Now it's back on. The pricetag for taxpayers is still unknown. What's clear is that an 11th-hour GOP proposal for a less expensive Vikings stadium that would rely on borrowing instead of gambling is gaining steam.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who called it a "hare-brained scheme" Wednesday morning, by day's end said it was a plan "absolutely worth pursuing," as high-level talks among DFLers, Republicans, the team and others unfolded.

"We hope this is fruitful," said House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, after formally presenting the idea to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. "We're trying to find a solution that the Legislature can agree to."

Two days after the Legislature had hoped to adjourn, a handful of leaders are racing to piece together a new, end-of-session stadium proposal that ditches the much-criticized expansion of charitable gambling for traditional bonding.

Dean and others say a new plan is needed because they cannot get the votes for the proposal Dayton, the Vikings and key Republican legislators crafted over the past several months.

The plan calls for borrowing at least $250 million as part of the state's overall bonding bill. That does not include the funding needed for a roof, which Dean said has yet to be determined. The city of Minneapolis would still contribute $150 million for construction costs and the team's share would remain $427 million.

Dean said using taxpayer-backed bonds are a far more stable funding source than the existing proposal, which relies on an untested expansion of charitable gambling. He also acknowledged, one day after proposing a roof-less stadium, that a roof would likely be required to qualify for general obligation bonds. The lack of a roof would severely limit the facility's ability to host civic and other events year-round.

Should the new proposal fail to catch fire, Dean said, the drive for a new stadium could be dead for this session.

"If it's not productive and it's not helpful, then we can move on to other solutions to try to get done to get out" and adjourn this year's legislative session, he said.

The new plan poses an enormous political challenge for Republicans. Unlike the earlier plan, which would have needed only a simple majority, the bonding bill by law requires a supermajority. That means Republicans will need a significant number of votes from the DFL.

DFLers are skeptical

DFLers were cool to the GOP proposal on Wednesday.

"The bottom line is there's no there, there," said House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, who earlier said he had all his votes lined up for Dayton's plan.

"The idea that we are going to obligate the state to pay for this really runs counter from what I'm hearing from constituents," said Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul. "They are not in favor of using public dollars to subsidize it."

Even labor unions, huge backers of the governor's plan, appeared doubtful the new proposal could succeed.

"I would be surprised if that works," said Minnesota AFL-CIO president Shar Knutson. "So far, we've only seen one plan that meets that -- that has the team, the city, the GOP authors and has been vetted through a number of [legislative] committees."

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who on Tuesday stood by Dayton's side at a news conference and said his city would not be partner to a roof-less stadium, was more conciliatory on Wednesday after emerging from a late-day meeting with Republicans.

He said he'd been assured by GOP leaders that the city's stadium contribution and its complicated financing proposal would not be altered.

But Rybak said that any new stadium proposal should contain the "backbone" of the proposal Dayton and others had worked on for months. "If there are ways to amendment it, [that may work] as long as they don't change what we need, what we laid out at the beginning," Rybak said.

That appeared to be the Vikings' bottom line as well, according to team spokesman Lester Bagley.

"We reaffirmed today in a meeting with House and Senate Republican leadership that the Vikings are committed to the deal we negotiated with state and local leaders -- $427 million upfront and $13 million in annual operating costs,'' Bagley said Wednesday. "We will not support any proposal that would require the team to contribute any more than that.''

It remains far from certain whether Republicans, many of whom campaigned strongly against "running up the state's credit card," can build the broad coalition needed for the new, GOP-led proposal.

"I don't like it, but it is more acceptable," said Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, a vocal stadium critic.

Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, said that relying on state general obligation bonds is a more fiscally sound way to finance the stadium. He said Dayton's proposal was "structurally flawed." Republicans, including House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, originally had opposed bonding.

Republican leaders acknowledged Tuesday that they had been meeting secretly for several days to assemble the plan and discuss it with the Vikings -- all without notifying Dayton. The governor's office has been in constant contact with the Vikings, Minneapolis officials and legislators in recent days to hold the coalition together and get the original agreement approved. That prompted heavy criticism from Dayton earlier in the day

"When you say you're negotiating -- you're negotiating," he said. "You're not plotting something behind people's backs."

By late afternoon he had softened his tone. "I don't recant anything I said before. I meant every word of it. But ... I'm not going to let my personal feelings for how other people conduct themselves get in the way of trying to get a resolution that's going to be beneficial to Minnesota."

The plan still has to be vetted by experts, consultants, the DFLers and the Vikings, he said, "So there's a long way to go with this and not much time."

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close