There was a Minnesota Vikings stadium bill introduced Wednesday -- but not the one Gov. Mark Dayton and others have been waiting for.
Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, introduced legislation to build a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills in Ramsey County. Money from authorizing electronic bingo and pulltabs would help the state pay for it. The stadium, according to the legislation, would open no later than June 2016, feature a roof, have parking for 21,000 cars and have at least 65,000 seats.
The Vikings would contribute at least $425 million toward the project, according to Hamilton's proposal. Ramsey County would contribute $10 million yearly "as funds are available," and the state would contribute $549 million for construction and $101 million for any needed surrounding public infrastructure.
The plan is similar to an agreement that the Vikings and Ramsey County have been pushing since last year -- but which has fizzled because Ramsey County has been unable to develop a county funding source that key stadium legislators support. Hamilton's plan attempts to address that by substantially increasing the state's contribution to the project.
Hamilton declined Wednesday to comment on his proposal. The legislator, a whip for the Republican House majority, has not been a major public player at the Legislature regarding a stadium bill.
Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said Hamilton's plan seemed "viable" but said legislators needed to determine whether it had political support at the State Capitol.
Bagley however took a dim view of another stadium plan that is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday by three Republican state senators -- two of them freshmen.
Bagley said the team had been briefed on the plan, and said an early version included having the state pay for stadium infrastructure costs and offer a 5.9 percent, low-interest loan to the team and others to build the project. The plan, according to Bagley, would have the team and its business partners pay more than 80 percent of the stadium's cost and is not site-specific.
"[It] would not allow the Vikings to be competitive" with revenues that other National Football League teams in similarly-sized markets are getting, said Bagley, the team's vice president for stadium development and public affairs.
Sen. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes, Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie and Sen. Pam Wolf of Spring Lake Park scheduled a news conference to outline the plan Thursday.
Both stadium plans come as Dayton and the Vikings continue to focus on building a new Vikings stadium at or near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, the team's home for the past 30 years.
After a meeting Tuesday with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, the governor said he remained hopeful -- but not optimistic -- that legislation for a Minneapolis stadium could be passed before the Legislature adjourned in late April.
Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673