Texas Plans to Bring F1 Back to USA Jeopardised

June 28, 2011

Austin’s City Council may jeopardise plans to use US$25m of Texas tax dollars to bring a Formula One race to the state’s capital.

Former Travis County tax collector Bill Aleshire, sick who sued to block the subsidy, sale said: “If the City Council decides not to endorse this, there’s no way the comptroller can move the funds because the city is required to be a partner.”

Local approval is needed for the project to proceed.

Texas investors including Clear Channel Communications Inc. co-founder B.J. “Red” McCombs are building a 3.4 mile (5.5km) track to bring Formula One racing back to the U.S. Critics, including Senator Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican, have questioned the subsidy as the state cut costs to close a two-year deficit estimated to be at least US$15bn.

The Austin council last week delayed voting on the plan that commits state funds to the car races each year for a decade.

With 20 million Texans within 250 miles of Austin and a growing Formula One fan base in Mexico, supporters of the bid feel the race would be successful. Formula One’s last U.S. race was run in Indianapolis in 2007.

Construction of the $242 million track, which has begun, is projected to add 1,300 temporary jobs and pump $400 million into the economy. The venue will seat 120,000 fans.