NFL Commissioner Goodell meets with Dayton, lawmakers to discuss stadium

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Gov. Mark Dayton and key legislative leaders this morning (Tuesday, May 17) at the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul.

“I think there’s significant progress in getting a new stadium for the Vikings built,” said Goodell, meeting with reporters outside the residence.

Goodell indicated that the NFL could chip in to help fund a new stadium, depending on certain factors.

Goodell visited the proposed stadium site in Arden Hills yesterday, and pronounced it an extraordinary site. “I think the Vikings feel very strongly about Ramsey County,” said Goodell.

Goodell said the NFL does not foresee the Vikings leaving Minnesota. “We want the Vikings to be here. I think everybody wants the Vikings to be here I know the Wilfs do,” he said.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has instructed Transportation Commission Tom Sorel to meet with Ramsey County officials to get a better sense of the exact cost of highway improvement the proposed stadium site would need.

The governor expects a firmer number by tomorrow.

Sorel has met with Ramsey County officials concerning needed highway improvements, and will be meeting with technical people to “drill down” on the number. “We’re trying to get the right number,”  he said.

Sorel explained the $175 million estimates deal with possible improvements beyond those already scheduled in the future for the area. Sorel indicated that some highway improvements would have to be made prior to a stadium opening in order to avoid congestion.

Dayton said he and the legislative authors of the stadium bill, Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, are in agreement that $300 million is the full extent of the state’s participation in a stadium.

Any transportation cost would be subtracted from that number.

“Time is of the essence,” said Dayton of advancing a stadium bill.

The regular legislative session ends on Monday.

“Where’s there’s will, there’s a way,” said Dayton.

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