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September 15, 2011
Vikings stadium to face cost overruns, after-the-fact public vote?
Apparently the state of Minnesota saved up all its Vikings stadium news for today, because there's a crazy flurry of activity in the mostly stalled campaign:
- Gov. Mark Dayton declared that cost overruns on the project could increase the Vikings' share of the costs from $400 million to $500 million, since overruns are currently slated to be paid by the team. Vikings stadium VP Lester Bagley responded that the Vikings' share is still "in negotiations," which sounds worryingly like "We're still hoping to figure out how to have somebody else pay for that." (Bagley did sound more amenable in talking to Minneapolis Public Radio, running down the state and county's proposed contributions, then adding, "What's left? Everything else. Who covers everything else? We do.")
- Ramsey County has scheduled two public hearings for Sept. 28 and Oct. 11 to discuss a proposed voter referendum on whether to use sales tax money for a Vikings stadium. The vote would be held next November, which could be after the state approves a stadium plan; opponents of the stadium deal say that even having a scheduled vote could affect the debate over the project, but we've seen how that's worked out before.
- Minnesota state house speaker Kurt Zellers, who opposes public stadium funding without a referendum, declared that he didn't think the Vikings would move immediately if a new stadium isn't approved: "After this much heritage and tradition, I don't think they would."