During a weekly Tuesday morning visit with Vikings play-by-play man Paul Allen on KFAN, I predicted that the powers-that-be in Minnesota would figure out how to build a new football stadium precisely one day too late. With the timetable for a team to move to Los Angeles potentially accelerating, the folks elected to lead — and not merely to bend to the will of those who are inclined to complain about something/anything/everything — are beginning to actually lead, and not pander to others or protect themselves.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Ramsey County Commission has decided not to place on a public ballot the question of whether a local sales tax should be employed to pay for a portion of the proposed stadium. The vote came after a public hearing that was more “evenly balanced” than a prior meeting dominated by opponents to the plan to impose the tax without giving citizens a chance to shout it down from behind the curtain of a voting booth.
On the same day, the Metropolitan Council issued a report questioning the viability of the plan, suggesting that the costs to clean up the site of the proposed stadium — a former munitions plant — will be more than estimated. And this report could make it harder to finagle a special legislative session aimed at formalize the three-pronged approach to building the venue with a combination of money from the Vikings (and the league), from the state government, and from Ramsey County.
Absent a special session, the issue would be delayed until the regular session of the Legislature in 2012, the same year in which every seat in the state’s lawmaking body will be up for election. And with the politicians having to choose between an unpopular (until it’s built) project and the prospect of getting booted out of office, it will be much harder to get it done next year.
In turn, it will become much harder to keep the Vikings, whose Metrodome lease expires after five more games there, in Minnesota.