Gov. Dayton says deadline needed on stadium debate

A deadline is needed to put the Vikings stadium issue on the legislative table, Gov. Mark Dayton said today.

He met with the two top Ramsey County Board supporters of the Arden Hills site this morning, and Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega want action now, so building can begin. By waiting a year, the cost would be $57 million more, Bennett said.

State senators will hold hearings on the stadium issue Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that there will be consensus on the issue in time to hold a special session on the stadium before the Legislature convenes for its regular session in January.

The Star Tribune quotes Dayton saying he’d like a resolution of the issue before the regular session:

“We’ll get a clearer, cleaner, better result if we just focus on that one topic rather than the mish-mash that exists at the end of a legislative session — plus that’s six months from now.”

With the Vikings saying they’ll pay (with the help of the NFL) more than  $400 million for the $1.1 billion stadium, it’s unclear where the state would find its contribution of $650 million, considering the state is expecting another budget shortfall next year. Proceeds from increased gambling in the state are being considered, but there’s lots of opposition to that, too.

Even the location is in play: While the Vikings want the Arden Hills site, where they can add other developments on the massive site and capture all the parking revenue, Minneapolis officials are formulating stadium plans in their downtown area, near the Twins and Timberwolves venues where the parking, hotel and light rail infrastructure already exists.

The governor says he wants to get a deal done but is neutral on the Minneapols/Arden Hills debate on location. He’d earlier set a Nov. 23 deadline for legislative action, but that’s not going to happen.

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