SBD/February 11, 2013/Facilities

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Seeks State Funding To Aid $100M In Track Improvements

IMS would pay $2M yearly over 20 years to help pay off bonds for the upgrades
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is "seeking aid from the state as part of a plan to fund up to" $100M in improvements at the track, according to Campbell & Murray of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Track officials said that the plan would "create a 'motor sports investment district' to collect existing state sales, income and corporate taxes generated in an area that includes the IMS to help pay for the improvements." The collected taxes would raise up to $5M a year that the "state would contribute to help pay off bonds for the improvements over a 20-year period," while IMS would put up $2M each year. Legislation to "enact the plan will be unveiled" today. Approval by the General Assembly would be "required before it could become law." IMS officials said that the track "plans to upgrade its infrastructure with changes including new video boards, better lighting and more modern grandstands." Plans "call for spending" between $70M and $100M. Officials added that they "want to make the speedway more flexible, perhaps for different types of events down the line." The lighting, for example, would "make it possible for some races to run at night." It is "possible, too, that the venue would be used for other types of events, but it’s too early to speculate." The proposal also could "help address a looming cost for the IMS." Under a deal announced last month with federal authorities, the IMS is "required to spend millions of dollars on renovations to make its facilities more accessible for disabled patrons within the next 30 months." In deciding to "seek public assistance, IMS officials cited other racetracks around the country that have received such help." Officials said that they "began discussing possible state assistance with lawmakers about 18 months ago, largely" with State Sen. Michael Young (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/9).
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