New Vikings Stadium Faces Uphill Battle

In a dangerous blow for the new Vikings stadium project, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced today that there was not enough legislative support to have a referendum on increasing local sales taxes to support a new stadium project.

Dayton met with leaders on Friday and they announced the outcome today, which means the earliest a referendum could be held would be November 2012.  The delay could block the plan to have Ramsey County contribute $350 million to a proposed new $1.1 billion stadium.  The plan relied on a half-cent sales tax increase to support the $350 million in bonds for the county’s portion of the stadium.

The advocates of a new stadium have said that without the sales tax measure, the new stadium project is likely to be blocked by the voters.

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said the announcement does note kill the Arden Hills stadium plan.   “The Legislature is basically going to search for another funding source,” Bennett said. “The Vikings still want the TCAAP site.”

“Last Friday’s meeting was very significant in eliminating one proposed source of financing for a People’s Stadium in either Ramsey County or Minneapolis, unless the Vikings are willing to endure the time delay and continuing uncertainty in obtaining voters’ approval,” Gov. Dayton said.

“Given this reality, we are now actively assessing and discussing with the team other financing options.”

The Vikings have been among the teams frequently listed as potential candidates to move to a new facility in Los Angeles at some point, and the absence of a new stadium in Minnesota keeps that possibility alive.

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