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Minneapolis stadium deal announced, but 'real work begins'

This drawing shows where the new Vikings stadium would be built on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis. The current Metrodome is outlined.

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton, key legislators, Vikings owners and Minneapolis leaders announced a deal to build a $975 million Vikings stadium, which still needs approval from the Legislature and Minneapolis City Council.

The stadium would be built next to the Metrodome, the downtown Minneapolis facility that hosted the Vikings for nearly three decades.

Funding stadium construction, the major stumbling block for years, is proposed to mostly come from the state and Vikings, with Minneapolis contributing less at the beginning but paying $7.5 million in operating expenses each year.

The state's contribution would be $398 million from electronic pulltab and bingo games, which the Legislature would need to approve before a stadium can be built.

Vikings owners said the team would pay $427 million for construction, but would not outline the sources.

Minneapolis' initial contribution would be $150 million from existing sales tax revenues.

Long-time state Sen. Roger Moe, who as a northwestern Minnesota lawmaker was the longest-ever Senate majority leader, said the announcement is good news because it gives legislators a chance to see a firm proposal, not just generalities.

Lawmakers are awaiting to see a specific bill, but now can read a 13-page agreement among the major parties.

"Now, the real work begins," Dayton said in announcing the deal.

He said the project would put 8,000 construction workers on the job, along with 5,000 employees of suppliers.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, who first talked to the Vikings about a stadium more than eight years ago, said getting to this point has been difficult. The Moorhead Republican, lead representative on the stadium, added: "The time has come for Minnesota to make a decision."

"We believe we have a plan now that stands the best chance of getting legislative approval," Lanning said.

Sen. Julie Rosen, the lead Senate stadium author, said legislative leaders have seen the plan and that Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, is supportive. The Fairmont Republican said that today's announcement is a handoff to the Legislature from negotiators who have worked for months.

Lanning earlier said the plan will go through the full legislative process, including hearings in several committees.

Dayton emphasized that no state tax money is being used in the construction proposal.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.