With 12 days left before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn, the odds of the Minnesota Vikings winning approval at the State Capitol for a new stadium remained tenuous Wednesday.
But winning outright approval for a new stadium – the Vikings announced Tuesday they had reached agreement with Ramsey County to build in Arden Hills -- may not be the only option.
Rep. Michael Beard, R-Shakopee, who chairs the House Transportation Policy and Finance panel, suggested another solution: Do what it takes this year to put the stadium in motion, but leave the details until later.
“We can probably give some signals from here that we’re interested in being helpful and making things work to the best of our ability,” he said. “We have time to get [the details] teed up next year, yet.
“The big deal is the local partner. If Ramsey County’s it, God bless them,” said Beard, who has met with state transportation officials to try to figure out the road improvements needed at the Arden Hills site for a new stadium.
Beard wants the Metropolitan Council to study the road improvements in Arden Hills, which Gov. Mark Dayton and state transportation officials said could cost at least $175 million if a Vikings stadium is built. As much as $240 million in roadwork would be needed, they added, if the stadium was accompanied by surrounding development.
“Do we need that much?” asked Beard.
“The Met Council’s got to weigh in on this,” he said. “What they have to say about the highways is probably going to drive more of the discussion than sort of the back-of-the-envelope stuff that has been talked about to this point.”