Vikings, Ramsey County “very close” on deal

Ramsey County commissioner Tony Bennett says the county and the Vikings are “very close” on terms for a new NFL stadium in Arden Hills.

He said he was part of a meeting today between Vikings ownership and the state’s House and Senate transportation chairs to discuss infrastructure costs for road access to a new stadium. People at the meeting said both Zygi and Mark Wilf joined in the talks.

House transportation chairman, Rep. Mike Beard of Shakopee, said in an interview tonight that the talks had cut the initial estimates by at least a third.

“Some of the interchanges are being built just as part of MnDOT’s normal plan of work, so that knocks 100 million or so off the deal, because we’re just doing it. There’s a couple other issues that may not have to be built out as far as the first blush looks like. And then some of the other things are there are some corridor improvements that are happening just because its the right thing to do. It’s a heavily traveled commuter route, so everybody wins anyhow.”

Gov. Mark Dayton pegged those infrastructure costs at $300 million during a recent interview on MPR’s Midday program, and was skeptical about the state paying for it.

But today’s talks, coupled with the letter from Hennepin County forgoing a stadium bid — at least for the time being — seems to bolster the case for putting the new stadium at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills. Minneapolis has a $10 million limit on stadium funding, dating back to a referendum more than a decade ago.

Dayton did leave the door open today for postponing a site selection. He said he’d sign a bill even without a site nailed down under the right circumstances.

“The bill could be passed with a commission to decide, or it could be passed with generalities, but my hope would be that they’ll be able to resolve on one site, so that we can proceed with the project and get people back to work and building it as soon as possible.”

The bill stalled at the Capitol right now leaves the site selection process open until May, 2012.

  • Ben

    I sure hope that they put this to some kind of public vote. I do not want to pay for this stadium! I also don’t want to make my already bad commute much worse during event times.