Minnesota Senate debates the Vikings stadium bill

Vikings fans
Vikings fans rally at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. Monday, May 7, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

It's the Minnesota Senate's turn to vote on a proposal for a new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis, after the House passed the measure Monday night on a 73-58 vote.

Despite the bill's bipartisan support in the House, its fate in the Senate is anything but certain.

"The House put some very, very bad amendments on the stadium bill," including a provision that calls on the NFL franchise to spend $105 million more on construction costs than originally called for, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk told MPR's Tim Nelson Monday night. "So the Senate clearly is going to have to do the hard work on this, and get the bill into the kind of condition where the Vikings, the city of Minneapolis will actually execute the provisions passed by the Legislature."

MPR's Cathy Wurzer spoke with two members of the Senate Tuesday morning to get a sense of where the vote may be headed.

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Republican Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville, who opposes the stadium plan because he believes it givers too much government money to a private business, said he doesn't know which way the Senate will vote.

"But by all of the things I hear and the best estimates I can come up with in talking to people on both sides of the aisle, I think it's going to be very, very close at the end of the day," he said.

DFL Sen. John Harrington of St. Paul is among those who suport the stadium proposal. He said the stadium proposal represents a good public investment that will give the state tax revenue and other benefits for years to come.

"If we look back historically, the Metrodome was built with about $33 million in public dollars. It has returned to the state $340 million. I don't have any investments that return that kind of return on investment, and at the same time it has put people to work," he said.

A vote in the Senate is expected Tuesday but the two different versions of the bill will need to be worked out in a conference committee. Final votes on the proposal could come later this week.