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Vikings stadium faces major obstacle Monday

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The possibility of building a new Vikings stadium has been a hot discussion topic in Minnesota lately, but it has yet to face many threats from the state's Legislature.

That may change Monday when the Vikings' proposal for a publicly funded stadium goes before a third House panel, according to the Star Tribune.

The $975 million proposal will face the The House Government Operations and Elections Committee, whose chair, Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, has said she prefers a voter referendum on the stadium. The referendum would likely doom the stadium, the Star Tribune said.

The proposal will be more likely to get a vote from the entire House if it survives Peppin's committee, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, has said.

The Vikings have been pushed back several times before, according to the Pioneer Press. But this year may be their best chance yet.

Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development, said the team's odds of passing a stadium bill are about 50-50.

The Legislature returns to work Monday after a 10-day layoff.

Light-rail construction delayed on campus

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It has been a rough first year for the Central Corridor light-rail project that is scheduled to connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis in 2014.

Construction delays have pushed back major deadlines in the University of Minnesota campus area by as many as seven months, the Minnesota Daily reported.

An initial contract between the Metropolitan Council and Ames/McCrossan Joint Venture required the Oak Street intersection to be completed by Nov. 30, 2011, but only the west half has been completed. The Minnesota Daily reported that the deadline for the east half of the intersection and installation of tracks has been extended to June 15, according to Met Council spokeswoman Laura Baenen.

A series of conflicts on the East Bank campus restricted construction workers' hours and limited the number of vibrations the construction could produce, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Delays on campus have been compounded by performance problems in constructing the St. Paul portion of the Central Corridor transit system. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the first year of construction suffered from communication lapses, haphazard planning and inattention to community concerns.

In St. Paul, performance in constructing the Central Corridor failed to meet expectations, according to a source interviewed for Minnesota Public Radio's report.

Mark Fuhrmann, who oversees new rail development for Walsh Agency -- the company that manages the project -- said the project encountered delays from the beginning.

Other sources in Minnesota Public Radio's report complained about unsafe conditions along University Avenue, the site for most of the construction.

Fuhrmann called the traffic conditions along University Avenue "unacceptable."

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