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.


  • 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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

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