Senate OKs Indianapolis speedway funding plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tax breaks for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway won approval in the state Senate Tuesday afternoon. 

It's a big hurdle in the effort by track owners to win state assistance for major improvements. The IMS bill would allow the Speedway to keep some of the tax money it generates through a special taxing district, so that it can make up to $100 million in improvements.

The vote to grant $5 million in tax breaks per year for 20 years was 37-to-12 in the state Senate.  The bill would permit the Hulman family which owns the Speedway to make upgrades that may include lights for night racing and new video boards aimed at improving the fan experience. 

"This is not a bailout," said the author, Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis).  "The Speedway's not in trouble, but they do have a project that they can't complete and they have asked the state to have a partnership on this."

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) was only member to speak on the bill. 

"As long as the Speedway lives up to its obligations on the debt and on everything associated with the debt," said Taylor, "I think this is a good bill."

This is the first time the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have sought public assistance and most lawmakers are anxious to help.  The bill now goes to the Indiana House where a similar reception is anticipated. 

The Speedway must contribute $2 million a year of its own money to make the deal work.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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