Senate approves version of stadium bill

Senate approves version of stadium bill Click to Enlarge Photo:

May 9, 2012 at 6:32 am

ST. PAUL, MN (AP) - The Minnesota Senate has approved a plan to build a $975 million stadium for the Vikings, another big step toward the new facility it's chased for more than a decade.

The Senate vote Tuesday came a day after the House approved its own stadium bill.Like the House bill, it calls for the team to pay more for constructions costs than it would like. The Senate proposal ups the tab by another 25-million dollars, to 452-million dollars--but that's still less than the 532-million dollars propsed by the House. The Vikings are already on record against the hike in the House version.

A number of so-called "user fees" included in the Senate version could help fund the project. Among them are a 10-percent fee on the sale or rental of suites at the stadium, a 10-percent fee on parking within a half-mile of the stadium during NFL events, and a nearly seven-percent fee on team jerseys and other NFL-licensed products sold at the stadium.
As a part of the Senate version of the plan, the Vikings will not get exclusive rights to recruit a professional soccer club as originally proposed.
The state Senate voted 47-20 to strip out a clause giving the Vikings five years to establish a major league soccer franchise before anyone else can. The provision would have let the soccer team play at a new stadium with no additional rent.
Republican lawmakers complained it would give a corporation a publicly endorsed monopoly. Many Democrats sided with them. The amendment came about seven hours into Senate debate on the stadium package.

There are plenty of differences between the version of the bill passed by the Senate and the one approved Monday by the House. The bill now heads to a conference committee before heading back to both chambers for a vote on a final product. The approved measure goes to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has led the charge for a new stadium for months.
The Vikings say they can't make enough money in the 30-year-old Metrodome to compete.


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