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Dayton, GOP leaders on Vikings stadium: 'Stay tuned'

Gov. Mark Dayton tells reporters that a two-hour Friday meeting produced no agreements about building a new Vikings football stadium. With hm are House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Photo by Don Davis/State Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders met for more than two hours about a Minnesota Vikings football stadium Friday morning, emerging with no agreements.

"All I can say is, 'Stay tuned,'" Dayton said during a brief news conference.

Democrat Dayton met with Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, who said they discussed potential funding for a $1.1 billion stadium and took a closer look at three downtown Minneapolis sites Mayor R.T. Rybak wants considered for a stadium. The Vikings want to build the facility in northern Ramsey County's Arden Hills.

"There is no breakthrough moment to discuss," Dayton told reporters after the meeting, which lasted more than twice as long as planned.

"We didn't take anything off the table," he added.

Dayton said he still hopes to have enough information to draw up his plan before he leaves for the annual governor's deer opener in northern Minnesota a week from today.

The governor said he sent his staff away with instructions to bring back more information before he meets with lawmakers again next week.

It appeared that Koch questioned whether a pre-Thanksgiving special legislative to deal with stadium funding would be possible. "I would not say that we are ready for that at this point. That's the governor's call."

Dayton has said he wants lawmakers to return to work on Nov. 21 and finish work in three days. However, he has said he could call them into session earlier if needed.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, has said that chances of the Legislature passing a stadium construction bill will drop if lawmakers wait until next year's regular session, which begins Jan. 24.

Among disputes that must be worked out is how the state would pay for its $300 million portion of stadium costs. Lawmakers are all over the field on how, and if, that should happen.

The Vikings say they will not play in the Metrodome after this year unless state leaders approve a new stadium.

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.