The Minnesota House revived the plan for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium on Monday, and the project's momentum accelerated throughout the day amid indications the full House and Senate could vote on the proposal by Friday.
Just a week after a House committee dealt a severe blow to the project, the Ways and Means Committee Monday night sent a revised funding plan to the full House without recommendation.
So all those details concerning funding? No reason to worry about that, apparently.
In just the past week, legislators have tentatively altered the plan on two critical fronts: Making it more likely that residents in Minneapolis -- the stadium would be built in downtown Minneapolis -- would have a referendum on the stadium, and also putting in jeopardy financial relief for the city-owned Target Center as part of the plan.
But Monday, the chief House author of the stadium legislation said that, despite lingering criticisms over the stadium's funding and location, it was likely too late to make such major changes to the proposal.
"There's an increasing sense that people want to get it to the floor for a final vote -- even the people who likely are going to vote no," said Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead.
"I think we're beyond that," he said of major changes to the plan. "There just simply isn't time."
Yep, it's time to eat that crap sandwich. A few observations:
- As we've maintained here from the outset, the funding is chimerical. The state, which means the taxpayers, will be on the hook for this thing. At one point that was an issue, but apparently it isn't any more. Don't expect any explanation of why that changed.
- If the bill gets through and Gov. Dayton signs it, you can bet that a lawsuit will be filed within minutes. The Vikings and their governmental benefactors had better hope that the judge is the spiritual successor to Harry Crump.
- The most amusing part of this deal is that Target Center gets bailed out. The politicians in St. Paul who sandbagged the Arden Hills site have to be kicking themselves now, because a revitalized Target Center will likely take business away from Xcel Energy Center. And because the Vikings stadium is essentially taking all the other oxygen out of the Capitol building, the Lowertown ballpark for the St. Paul Saints probably won't happen, either. Well played, Chris Coleman!