Report raises questions about proposed Vikings stadium site

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A report released Wednesday raised new questions about the cost and complications of building a Minnesota Vikings stadium on a heavily contaminated site in a Twin Cities suburb as the team said it saw nothing to derail the project and vowed to push harder than ever to get approval from reluctant state lawmakers.

The study, commissioned by Gov. Mark Dayton and prepared by the Metropolitan Council, called the goal of completing the Arden Hills stadium by 2015 "unrealistic" and said 2016 or 2017 was more likely. A longer construction timeframe would likely increase the current $1.1 billion price tag, the report said, threatening to tap out a half-cent Ramsey County sales tax hike proposed to pay about a third of the total cost.

The lack of progress has raised fears about the Vikings' future in Minnesota, where the team is playing out the final year of its lease at the Metrodome.

Dayton, in a news release, refused to back either the Arden Hills site or any of three potential sites that would keep the team in downtown Minneapolis. He said if team officials want the suburban site they must indicate "whether they will accept the possibly longer timeline ... and whether they will pay for any resulting additional costs."

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his allies from the Ramsey County Board held a joint news conference and said they saw nothing in the report that would stop the project.

"The issues and concerns listed are solvable, and already being negotiated with state leaders," Wilf said. He didn't close the door on the team paying more than the $407 million they have pledged so far, with team vice president Lester Bagley saying the Vikings' ultimate contribution would be "somewhere north" of that amount.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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