The Racing Capital
of the World
April 27, 2013 | By Paul Kelly
The Indiana General Assembly approved a bill as the clocked approached midnight Friday, April 26 that will strengthen the state’s position as a global leader in the motorsports industry and create benefits for economic development in tourism, hospitality and motorsports, including upgrades and improvements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
House Bill 1544 passed the House and Senate is on its way to the desk of Gov. Mike Pence. The legislation creates an Indiana Motorsports Investment District that will capture growth in sales and income taxes at the commercial property that includes IMS for future investment in the Speedway. In addition, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will oversee a fund for motorsports businesses statewide to apply for loans to assist with economic development projects and facility improvements.
“We appreciate the hard work done by state lawmakers to ensure Indiana remains the worldwide leader in motorsports,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “This legislation will allow us to make transformative improvements to our 104-year-old facility over the next several years that will greatly enhance the fan experience.”
According to the legislation, IMS will receive a loan from the state for up to $5 million per year for 20 years to complete capital improvement projects. The loan will be repaid through the anticipated increases in income and sales tax collections at IMS and will be guaranteed by IMS’ parent company, Hulman & Co. In addition, IMS will contribute $2 million per year, $40 million total, over 20 years toward the improvements. The legislation also creates an Indiana motorsports fund where the state will provide up to an additional $5 million per year to the IEDC for loans to motorsports businesses and tracks interested in making improvements to their facilities.
“The impact of motorsports in Indiana is felt in all 92 counties, and this industry provides 23,000 direct jobs statewide that pay an average wage of nearly $63,000 per year,” said Tom Weisenbach, Indiana Motorsports Association executive director. “Our state lawmakers understand the significant economic impact of our industry, and we greatly appreciate their support as we look to grow our state’s economy.”
Projects that could be implemented by IMS as a result of this legislation will be determined in part through a master facility use plan process that is underway at IMS.