The cleanup from last night’s stadium derailment continues at the Capitol this evening. Vikings lobbyists and team vice president Lester Bagley were working the legislative crowd, hoping to restart the stadium effort.
“There is no next year,” Bagley said. “We were told by the last governor in 2006 when the Twins bill and the Gophers bill were moving forward that the Vikings were going to have to stand down, we’ll come back next year. That was six years ago. After 10 plus years and an expired lease, we need to get this issue moving, get it done this year. Get it to the floor, let all 201, because there is support to get it to the floor, and let all the legislators get a shot at it because there is support in this building to get this done this year.”
Sen. Julie Rosen, in a brief appearance on the House floor, said the team has reason to hope that things may yet work out in the days left in this year’s legislative session.
“It’s not a deal killer. Nothing is dead yet. We’re still going to hopefully to move in the Senate…Last night complicated that a little bit. So I think the meetings that are going on with the governor right now are going to be able to make a little more sense going forward.”
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale was also at the Capitol today. He said the deal needs to be closed, as is.
Mondale rejected a plan floated earlier this month by South St. Paul DFLer Joe Atkins, which had the state authorizing a gambling expansion for a year, then paying for pre-design and other work while the state gets a sense if the proposed stadium financing would work.
“I don’t think that’s too great of an idea,” Mondale said. “I mean, why would you vote on a Vikings stadium twice? Why would you spend $50 million of state money, and at the end of the day it may go to nothing. It just seems like we need to do this or not do it. It’s coming down to judgment time. And people need to decide you know, it’s not about this comma or that comma. We either need to do this or not do this.”