Minnesota Vikings stadium bill hits roadblock in state House

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Minnesota House committee voted down the Minnesota Vikings stadium bill Monday night, dealing a major blow to the team's decade-long effort to secure a taxpayer subsidy for a replacement to the Metrodome.

The House Government Operations Committee mustered only six votes for the stadium proposal, with nine members voting against it. The vote, which came just after 10 p.m. following a four-hour hearing on the bill, makes it extremely unlikely the bill could be revived in the remaining weeks of a legislative session expected to wrap up before the end of April.

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"Somebody's going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat for this thing to be alive at this point," said Rep. Morrie Lanning, the chief House sponsor of the $975 million stadium plan. A Senate version of the stadium bill is stalled in that chamber.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings' point man on the stadium push at the Capitol, said afterward that the team was "extremely disappointed" at the outcome. "I guess I would ask the state, what else would you expect us to do? What else can we do?" he said.

Gov. Mark Dayton has been a committed and vocal supporter of the stadium proposal, repeatedly stressing that he believes failure to help the team build a new stadium could result in Minnesota losing the Vikings to another city. A spokeswoman said Dayton would not have an immediate comment on the committee vote.

The Democratic governor was scheduled to meet Tuesday morning with Republican legislative leaders to talk about the waning days of the session, and Monday night's developments are likely to be a major part of the discussion.

The team is committed to play in the Metrodome for the 2012 season, but no longer has an active lease in the 30-year-old facility.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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