Vikings, Ramsey County Propose Finance Plan for Arden Hills Road Improvements

Posted Jun 13, 2011

The Vikings and Ramsey County proposed a joint user-based finance proposal on Monday to fund necessary off-site transportation needs to support a new stadium in Arden Hills. Despite the fact that many of the long-term road improvements will serve a much broader public purpose and help address transportation needs for the entire region regardless of a stadium, the plan follows the theme of “those who use or benefit from the stadium pay.”

Click here to view / download a PDF that outlines the infrastructure financing discussion in more detail.

“We continue to respond to every request State leaders make, “said Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley. “We found a strong local partner and the best stadium site, made significant financial commitments from both the team and the County, and now we have provided a creative finance proposal to resolve the off-site transportation needs.”

Those transportation needs are estimated to cost between $110 and $131 million by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). To close that gap, the Vikings-Ramsey County plan unveiled on Monday will generate up to $81 million in user-based funding and rely on regional and federal transportation-related grants for the remaining $50 million. The proposal presents two options – one that involves Ramsey County issuing bonds and the other that involves an interest-free advance from MnDOT. In order to cover the annual debt payments – between $2-5 million depending on the option used - the plan would allocate the incremental difference in existing Vikings game day taxes and the estimated taxes at a new facility toward the road costs.

An additional potential source of revenue to help cover road costs could come via a future Super Bowl held at the new stadium, something that is very likely to occur, though subject to NFL approval. The NFL has recently begun to award Super Bowls to communities that have solved their stadium issues, including Indianapolis, which opened brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008, and New York/New Jersey, which opened the New Meadowlands in 2009. The Vikings are confident the same would occur in Minnesota, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in direct impact to the State and several million dollars in taxes alone. Blinking on hospitality taxes – lodging, restaurants and car rental – for Super Bowl week alone could help pay off the bonds early.

“We are confident that when the legislature and the governor are ready to consider a stadium proposal as part of a special session, we will have a comprehensive package in front of them,” said Bagley.