Gov. Mark Dayton, leading the State Capitol Preservation Commission, said earlier today that he and legislative leaders have been unable to come to a final agreement on how to allocate space in the newly renovated Capitol. 

A final agreement on how space will be used is required before the next phase of the $272 million project can be approved by the commission and commence. Without an agreement, the builder won't know how to proceed. 

Dayton said he and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt have been in intense negotiations in recent days and have made significant progress. The House changed hands and became Republican after the November election, scuttling an earlier tentative agreement. 

The delay will begin to increase project costs soon, eventually to the tune of $680,000 per month. Commission members were also told a slowdown could create other difficulties, such as a shortage of skilled workers, who may want to bolt given the region's booming construction market. 

Also, bids have been approved and contracts are ready to be signed, but they will expire on Jan. 31. A new bidding process could cost even more due to rising construction costs. 

The commission agreed to meet next week. Dayton said he hopes an agreement will be reached by then. 

Post modified to reflect that delay will begin to affect costs "soon" rather than "immediately." Project officials told Dayton that an agreement by next week's meeting won't add to costs.