By PATRICK CONDON
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The push for Vikings stadium funding at the Minnesota Capitol was regaining momentum Thursday, less than 24 hours after it appeared to fall apart for the year.
Gov. Mark Dayton met Thursday morning with lawmakers who support a state stadium subsidy. The lawmakers say they plan to introduce a detailed proposal soon and air it in public hearings.
Stadium backer Sen. Julie Rosen said she still wants to settle the issue before the regular legislative session starts in late January. Her fellow chief stadium sponsor, Rep. Morrie Lanning, said it's likely the chief source of state funds will be tax revenue from expanded gambling.
"What's the saying? Reports of the demise of the Vikings stadium are greatly exaggerated," said Lanning, a Republican from Moorhead.
Dayton had lashed out at legislative leaders a day earlier for not backing his drive to resolve the issue before the Vikings' Metrodome lease runs out in early February. But he said he was encouraged that the project's backers reached out to him Thursday morning — and that he was willing to let supporters in the Legislature take the lead on assembling a proposal that their fellow lawmakers can consider.
Dayton and lawmakers said a special session before Thanksgiving was no longer a possibility, but no one closed the door on the chance that Dayton could call them back to the Capitol either in December or even early January, prior to their official convening.
The Vikings have sought a replacement for the Metrodome for most of the last decade, calling the downtown Minneapolis venue no longer sufficiently profitable. Team officials have refrained from direct threats to leave Minnesota in the absence of a new stadium, but Dayton and other supporters have said they take such a scenario seriously.
Several possible sites have been under consideration. The team is backing a $1.1 billion stadium in a suburban area north of the Twin Cities, but three sites in downtown Minneapolis seem to remain as possibilities given they carry a lower price tag. Rosen said it was possible lawmakers could even introduce more than one stadium bill tied to different sites.
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