Vikings: Minn. lawmakers could sink stadium deal

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ST. PAUL, MINN. (AP) - A Minnesota Vikings executive says state lawmakers could sink a stadium deal by making it too hard on the club.

Team vice president Lester Bagley made the comments in an interview on 1500 ESPN Tuesday as the Senate prepared to vote on a stadium financing proposal.

A day earlier, House members approved a stadium deal but added $105 million to the team’s share.

Bagley says stadium opponents will do all they can to derail the deal.

He points to a Twins ballpark bill that cleared the Legislature in 2002, only to fall apart. It took the team another four years to win legislative support for a workable bill.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

After years of setbacks, the Minnesota Vikings can finally point to a major victory in the franchise quest for a new stadium. Tuesday could make it two in a row.

The Minnesota House voted 73-58 on Monday for a stadium financing proposal. In the process, lawmakers substantially raised the required private contribution toward the $975 million facility, a change Vikings‘ owners find troubling.

The state Senate planned to act on a competing version Tuesday. Passage there would send the bill into final negotiations and put the team closer than ever to a replacement for the aging Metrodome. The Vikings have been after a new stadium since the mid-1990s.

“It was the first hurdle, a couple more to go,” Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said after Monday night’s vote, which would be the first of four needed before a plan can reach a supportive Gov. Mark Dayton.

Bagley said the team’s owners aren’t prepared to shell out $105 million more _ beyond a prior $427 million private commitment _ toward construction of the stadium in downtown Minneapolis. But lawmakers will have the final say on how big a taxpayer subsidy is provided.

The bill passed with support of more Democrats than Republicans despite the GOP controlling that chamber. It reflects a hard push by organized labor, which promoted the Vikings stadium as a much-needed boost for the construction sector.

Dayton hailed the vote by thanking fans who have flooded lawmakers’ phone lines, email inboxes and the Capitol itself to push for passage. Several stood outside the House chamber singing the team fight song after the vote.

“The voices of the people of Minnesota were heard tonight,” Dayton said. He urged fans to keep up the pressure in the days ahead.

Toward the end of a nearly nine hour House debate, members rose one after another to defend their intention to back or oppose the bill.

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