By MARK DAYTON
When I'm asked what I mean by a "people's stadium" that could host the Minnesota Vikings and other events, I say it should be a facility owned by the people of Minnesota and operated for their economic and social benefit.
At a time when more than 200,000 people are out of work in our state, we have the chance to create several thousand jobs to clear a blighted site, build the stadium and other commercial facilities, and then operate them.
In the owners of the Vikings, we have partners willing to make an investment that may approach $500 million.
We have the opportunity either to clean up a contaminated 430-acre site in Arden Hills and fill it with jobs-producing enterprises, or to rehabilitate an underutilized section of Minneapolis, with similar jobs-creating benefits.
I wish we had the reasons and the means to develop both sites for their resulting economic and environmental benefits.
And we have the ability to structure the public financing so that not one general tax dollar would be used to pay for the project. Revenues could be generated by taxes on stadium items like tickets and souvenirs, and by adding electronic pulltabs to already existing charitable gambling.
So why aren't we seizing this opportunity to put several thousand unemployed Minnesotans to work?
Last month I proposed a special session of the Legislature to resolve the stadium controversy with an up-or-down vote. That proposal was rejected in favor of legislative hearings as yet undefined and unscheduled.
One reason given for delay was that "there isn't a plan." I said weeks ago that I would present a plan last Monday, and I was on track to do so -- until my timetable was derailed.
In my experience, a firm deadline is one of the essential requirements to complete complex negotiations. I had set one; now none exists.
Given where we are today, this is how I propose we proceed.
To read the entire Op-Ed, click here.