Gov. Mark Dayton says legislation to construct a new professional football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings cannot wait until next year.
In a conference call Thursday morning, Dayton said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a formal “warning” that the the team could leave Minnesota if the Legislature doesn’t finalize and pass a deal to start the construction of a new stadium before this session is over.
To add to the urgency, Goodell and Steelers owner Art Rooney will visit St. Paul on Friday to meet with Dayton and legislative leaders about their concerns.
“The reality is that there are other cities looking for a franchise,” Dayton told reporters in a hastily scheduled news conference after his call with Goodell, adding that the NFL gave him a “very strong, very clear” message that next year is too late.
Dayton, who recently said he would not rule out calling a special session later in the year to pass a stadium bill, now says the likelihood of a fall special session is “extremely slim to extremely none.”
He said he thinks there is time to get the package finalized and to his desk before the Legislature is constitutionally require to adjourn in mid-May, but GOP lawmakers are trying to get out earlier ahead of a busy election year.