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Senate OKs Indianapolis Motor Speedway funding plan

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A plan providing up to $100 million in state funding toward improvements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has won approval from the Indiana Senate.

Senators voted 37-12 Tuesday in favor of the proposal, sending it to the House for consideration.

The bill would create a motorsports investment district to collect existing state sales and income taxes generated from the track. The plan would tap up to $5 million a year in taxes to pay off bonds over a 20-year period, with the speedway paying about $2 million a year.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mike Young said he believes improvements at the track will help the state in the long term by attracting more fans.

Possible projects include building and grandstand improvements, better access for disabled people, new video boards and lighting for possible night races.

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  • Joke of the Day
    It comes off to me as yet another fantasy by some deluded malcontent on the Internet. A laughable collection of unattributed hyperbole. You are not really that gullible are you? LOL.
  • What's this...
    What is this speculation about IMS being up for sale/auction posted at Advance Indiana blog. Is there anything to this regarding the family using tax monies to spiff IMS up to make it more salable for a future owner?
  • Bigger Picture
    My enduring wish is simple education for those who claim not to attend Indy or really not to know that much about it somehow feel entitled to not only offer critical commentary but judge its relative success or failure. This May will be the 49th time I have attended the race, and in relation to the current state of societal evolution in 2013 I can say with absolute certainty the event is as successful as ever. Critics should also get past their obsessed fixation with lights. That is actually a small portion of the funding, and IMS is not even certain that decision is final. The total amount for the glorified loan is small potatoes in the grand scheme, and Indiana is one of the few states with a budget surplus. People should stop always trying to make sows ears out of silk purses for once. Think of the greater good.
  • aaah yes...
    and the wheels of corporate socialism continue to spin round n' round in the Republicon legislature...more welfare for billionaires, isn't that the Rmoney campaign motto (and how does our 'budget-minded' guverner feel about MORE welfare?!)
  • Yup
    Actually, Scott, you start to get to my larger point. I really don't care about the race, never have. But it does represent another $100 million BandAid we're appllying in service to a past that no longer exists instead of addressing the present reality that people just don't want to live in, work in, or visit Indiana. We can install lightbulbs at the IMS all day long, but it won't make a difference in our larger reputation problem, so why not put it to more constructive and creative use?
  • Ah, state supermajority
    ...will only fund our roads if they go round in a circle? And to an institution that's supposed to be all about market forces? I mean, it probably IS money reasonably well spent, actually. But so is a lot of other infrastructural spending that will go begging in this state's political monopoly ;-)
  • Facts?
    Ummm. The Speedway doesn't release attendance numbers, but all you have to do is look around. Unless you specifically care about the race, in May you would never even know it's happening anymore. I've had corporate sponsors who literally can't give tickets away. And it is patently ridiculous to discount a very successful past in evaluating a presently consistent decline. Imagine running any other company like that. Instead of allowing some old guys to think reliving their glory days is just a pricey paint job away, create some genuinely exciting and unique ways to improve the experience. Prove that your ideas are economically viable, then make your proposals and requests. This "oh we'll put up some lights and install ADA ramps" is silly and expectedly bush league.
  • Facts is Facts
    Facts: The Indianapolis 500 still draws, literally, hundreds of thousands each and every May. It really does not matter how it 'used' to be. This is 2013. The economic impact of just that one event is hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The BY400 and Moto GP add much more than that. Let it die and a large portion of Indianapolis becomes inner city Detroit. As usual the woe portended by the critics is far overblown. The blueprint for the big picture means a stronger economic base. What is essentially a $100 million dollar loan is small potatoes compared to most other projects of that type. Once critics understand the place of IMS in the general economic scheme of things blanket dismissal of this arrangement becomes far more palatable.
  • Wow
    That's some resilient bias you've got. NFL and MLB attendance may be down as well, but come on. I'm fairly young, but I can remember when May was all about the 500 and even flea bag motels 60 miles away from the track were booked. Those days are long gone and installing some lights won't bring them back. The Colts put together a product that was clearly an economic boon to the city, one that demanded an equally deserving facility. The track simply can't provide the ROI, especially at the expense of other taxpayer obligations. I guess we'll agree to disagree, but some of us have the facts on our side, however "quaint" that notion may be.
  • State of the Art
    Some understand the 'plight' of virtually every sports and entertainment entity in 2013 and some don't. One of the most hilarious aspects of the critics' quaint flaming is the notion that declining attendance is unique to IMS. It's not. But other venues (which also have declining attendance) are more modern in their attempt to increase attendance, and IMS now has some catching up to do in the area of modern amenities. The long term plans for 16th St., Georgetown, Speedway in general, a possible new museum, redevelopment of the old motel site, etc., all bode well for catching up. Can't happen fast enough for many of us.
  • Clearly
    Setting aside the obvious bias of some posters, attendance at the track has been declining for decades. Bringing it back will require creativity, ingenuity, boldness and an understanding of the entertainment options and expectations of this audience, not a $100 million paint job. The genuine shame is throwing money at a problem money can't fix.
  • Knowledge is Power
    The one thing that would be really refreshing is the self education of the most hostile critics. They should attempt to learn the facts prior to spouting off. Most do not have a clue about the framework of the deal, much less about the operation of the track. That's a genuine shame.
  • Wow
    If fans aren't going to the track (and they aren't) isn't that just free market forces at work? If the government has no responsibility to help sick citizens get adequate healthcare, how can there possibly be any obligation to help people see cars go in circles really fast?
  • a real shame
    It's a shame to see IMS be the one place that survived on it's own to now accepting state help. This can only be blamed on Tony's sisters. Once they took the reigns, they stopped spending their money and started wanting to spend ours.
  • Corporate welfare cadillacs
    Where's the complaints about corporations getting massive handouts? Nowhere. These coward GOPers don't have any problems complaining about a minority single parent getting some assistance, but when it comes to a rich white millionaire guy, then the purse strings swing right open.
  • tax payer
    I heard the Harlem Globetrotters are moving here, and they only want 50 million from the state. Has anybody looked at the books to see if IMS needs the money. When will it end? That place is a cash cow for the Hulmans
  • Details Matter
    They just need to remove the bills language that allows them to payoff OLD debt with the bond proceeds and delete the language that demands no lien or mortgage can be placed upon the capital improvements to secure the bond with collateral. Additionally they need to add language that reflects the bills author statements that IMS will be paying $2 million a year to match the states contribution of $5 million a year for 20 years bringing the total of IMS improvements to $120 million with IMS responsible for default payments. http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2013&session=1&request=getBill&docno=91
    • Let The Facelift Begin
      37-12. Thank goodness common sense prevails. Money well spent.

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    1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

    2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

    3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

    4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

    5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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