Despite funding shortfall, Rybak still confident in Vikings stadium planby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says he remains confident about his city's bid for a Vikings stadium, despite a substantial funding shortfall outlined in a city financial analysis.
The analysis shows the city is short of making its $313 million local contribution by $55 million. Rybak says there's time to close the gap.
"All the sources haven't been identified completely, on how to fund a stadium. So that means we're going to have to negotiate who pays what. We're also going to have to negotiate how much is spent on the building," he said. "I'm going to be a tough negotiator."
The city wants to build a new $900 million stadium on the site of the Metrodome. The city had offered to use about $11 million a year in hospitality taxes that wouldn't be dedicated to other projects, like upkeep and promotion for the Minneapolis Convention Center and a makeover for the city-owned Target Center.
That annual amount would be about $2.2 million a year short of enough to pay the up-front stadium costs the city has pledged for the Vikings.
Getting that money may be easier said than done, though: the hundreds of millions of dollars the city has pledged for the Vikings and Target Center projects may yet face a legal challenge in a $10 million cap on stadium spending, put in place by city voters in 1997.
Lawmakers in St. Paul have said they're willing to overturn that charter amendment, but that they want the city to officially ask for it with a vote by the City Council.
And now stadium opponents on the council say the shortfall is all the more reason to doubt the wisdom of subsidizing yet another pro sports facility — adding to the difficulty of winning city approval for the project.
"There's no meat to this plan," said Elizabeth Glidden, Ward 8 council member. "The public has not had explained to them what are all the assumptions that have to come true for the rosiest scenario to happen ... that is a risk that is unacceptable."
Since the start, Rybak has pitched the project as a way to channel part of the city's hospitality and sales taxes to paying off debt and fixing up Target Center, which the city bought from the founders of the NBA tenant in 1995. It was part of a plan to keep the then-new Timberwovles from becoming the second pro basketball team to abandon Minneapolis.
- All Things Considered, 02/09/2012, 5:18 p.m.