The Minnesota Vikings have laid out a plan to close the gap between what they've already offered to build a new football stadium and what the state says it'll cost.
The Vikings already have a plan to pay for the stadium itself, which will cost about $1 billion. Now, they say they're ready to meet the state halfway on the estimated $131 million it will cost to upgrade the roads around the stadium they want to build in Arden Hills.
The plan calls for redirecting $25 million in federal road funding to the project, and getting $21 million dollars in extra environmental cleanup funds.
"These are credits that we think are attainable," said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, who rolled out the plan at a Capitol press briefing Monday afternoon.
But those credits alone won't close the gap. For the rest, the team wants Ramsey County or the state to borrow at least $61 million more, to be repaid with existing sales taxes and ticket taxes, as well as the additional revenue which will be generated by taxes on liquor, memorabilia and parking at the stadium itself over future years.
"These taxes are generated at a base level in 2011, and in 2015 in the new stadium, the revenues have raised," said Bagley. "The idea is to capture the incremental increase in these revenues and use them to pay off these transportation bonds."
The Vikings are proposing what's known as TIF, or tax increment financing. It pledges additional value raised by a project up front -- to help finance the project in the first place.
Usually it's applied to property taxes to encourage development. Bagley says in this case, it's a sales tax TIF.
The Vikings road plan would also impose new taxes. They include a $3.50 parking surcharge, a 3 percent food and beverage tax at the stadium and a half-percent ticket tax at the stadium.
But the road taxes would extend beyond the stadium as well. Ramsey County officials want to double the $20 fee already applied to car sales in the county to pay for transit. The extra money raised would pay off the stadium road bonds.
Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said it's fair for the public to chip in for work on freeways around the stadium.
"The people that are going to use these roads, 365 days a year, are the average citizens. And 10 days a year, the Vikings fans are going to use it," said Bennett.
These taxes are on top of the financing for the stadium itself. The county has proposed a half-cent sales tax to pay for its $350 million share of stadium construction. The state has pledged $300 million, to be paid for by memorabilia taxes, lottery proceeds and ticket taxes.
The Vikings have pledged $407 million to the project, with a portion of that expected to come from parking fees and possibly seat licenses, among other revenues.
The plan hasn't won a hearing at the Capitol, where a stadium bill has been languishing for months.
It isn't clear whether the new road plan makes the situation any better. A spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Dayton said he hadn't seen the proposal as of Monday afternoon.
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Ted Mondale said he hadn't seen specifics on the proposal, but believed from initial reports that it was "more of the same."
The Minnesota Department of Transportation said as much in a letter released Monday. The agency said the transportation grants mentioned in the proposal are all state money, and subject to the governor's cap on stadium spending.
The state and Vikings have been at an impasse for nearly a month on how to pay for the road projects, with the state drawing the line at a $300 million contribution for the whole project.