I just read in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that some Minnesota lawmakers are trying to set up a task force to look at options that would keep the Metrodome open after the Vikings flee at the end of 2011.
From this I can draw a few different conclusions. For one, maybe there is momentum building behind the scenes for the Ramsey County location as the permanent home of the Vikings stadium, and lawmakers realize that something will need to be done with the Metrodome. A task force can be set up to look at studies, cost estimations, and revenue projections for various sundry events like monster truck rallies and high school football games. And the circus! I love the circus. I would think that two stadiums within close proximity of one another would be a bad idea, but if this task force can come to the conclusion that the Metrodome has a useful function for anything other than Minnesota Vikings football games, who am I to say no?
However, the other conclusion I can draw is a more ominous one. Maybe lawmakers know that there will be no stadium deal, in Ramsey County or anywhere else, and lawmakers are trying to figure out how to make up a fraction of the lost income that the Vikings generate to be able to keep the Metrodome open, once the Vikings relocate for greener pastures.
But I question the timing of this bill to form a Metrodome Viability Task Force. Why now? Shouldn't the focus be on getting a good stadium bill finalized, passed through committees, and then voted on? It seems to me that there is plenty of time to figure out what to do with the Metrodome next year, or even two years from now. And here is my third conclusion. Maybe even a conspiracy theory. By introducing this bill, it competes with the new stadium bill, eating up precious time and resources that these committees have (I don't know that all the same committees will look at these bills, but with the streamlining of committees in the House and Senate there will almost have to be some overlap) to look at all the work before them before the legislative session ends. The ultimate goal in this conspiracy theory is that this bill will slow down the work of the legislative committees enough so that they won't be able to finish work on a new stadium bill, preventing a vote on it and dooming the Vikings' future in Minnesota.
Granted, the Vikings didn't do themselves any favors by submitting a terrible bill, but would politicians do something like this so they could potentially avoid a tough vote?