Indiana Legislators Open To Funding IMS Upgrades, Including Lights For Night Events
Indiana state lawmakers are “open to giving financial help to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in hopes of eventually getting more money in return,” according to Schneider & Campbell of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. State Sen. and State Appropriations Committee Chair Luke Kenley said the proposal to create a motor sports investment district around IMS is "a pretty good plan." The proposal would set aside up to $5M annually of the "tax revenue generated in the district for 20 years." The money would help IMS "pay off bonds" that would finance up to $100M in improvements, including “lights for evening events and changes to make the facility more handicap-accessible." Kenley said that the state “thinks it will get back, and then some, the tax revenues it foregoes, thanks to increased use of the facility.” Kenley: "I would expect that within five years, if they develop the Speedway the way they are talking about doing, so and having bigger and better and perhaps more events there, they are going to generate more activity, then we should start seeing some return." The bill will be "debated Thursday in Kenley's committee" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/11). In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote IMS' “biggest project” might be “lights for the entire facility.” IMS officials “insist the Indianapolis 500 will remain an afternoon race, but lights could help when weather delays are a problem.” The NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 would be a “candidate for a night race given the late-July heat, and the MotoGP race in August could benefit as well.” In addition to lighting for the track, there are “hundreds of places where additional lighting would be needed: Parking lots, concession stands, walkways, the garage area.” The cost of the entire project likely is “north of” $20M, and it “opens the facility to a host of different evening opportunities, such as concerts” (INDYSTAR.com, 2/11).