Vikings would pay for half of criticized pedestrian bridge in new plan

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The cost of a multimillion dollar pedestrian bridge, that would connect the new Vikings stadium with the nearby light rail station, may end up getting partially paid for by the team after all.

The Metropolitan Council is scheduled to vote on a new funding proposal next week, according to the meeting agenda.

In the deal, the Vikings would cover half the construction cost of the bridge, up to $3.5 million. Any cost above $7 million will be the responsibility of the Met Council.

In addition, the Vikings will get 50 percent of all advertising revenue generated at the light rail station platform for a period of 30 years.

Met Council staff had been able to negotiate with the Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority over final proposals since late May.

Metro Transit officials have said the bridge is necessary for safety reasons, to help the stadium-going crowds navigate the busy area near the intersection of South 4th Street and Chicago Avenue. The bridge would span the light rail tracks and make it easier for pedestrians to get from the station to the stadium and back.

But initially, the Met Council was set to pay for the entire cost of the bridge with public money (an estimated $6 million) – drawing criticism from people who argued it was unnecessary, and should be paid for at least partially by the Vikings.

The Met Council will vote at its meeting next Wednesday.

In the proposal, the bridge would be 30 feet wide and include a second elevator bank, according to the agenda. The Vikings will pay for all additional design costs associated with the added width.

The Met Council will be responsible for operation and maintenance costs.

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