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#1 2010-07-12 07:21:47

stuwerb
Member
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 15

F the F1 Proposal -- Austin's Newest Potential Boondoggle

Here is the latest threat to the Austin Way of Life, a proposed F1 track on the edge of town, paid for with a massive infusion of tax dollars, many of which will end up being our own. Just think how much bicycle infrastructure we could get with $25 or $50 million. Just think how much aquifer land we could buy, or urban renewal.

Please let your local representatives know that you oppose this deal, and at the very least, demand full transparency.

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#2 2010-07-12 08:50:41

rickb
Member
Registered: 2008-09-09
Posts: 23

Re: F the F1 Proposal -- Austin's Newest Potential Boondoggle

I completely agree about full transparency on this.   Where did did you find the 25 to 50 million figure?  I haven't seen any such information in the Chronicle or Statesman.  The Chronicle states  "Leffingwell insists that no city cash will go into the facility. There have been limited discussions about some financial support...."
The investors are said to have already acquired the land and the construction funding through private sources.

True, there's other tradeoffs like some pollution and noise.  Well, that's a side effect of any large gathering.
It looks like this track is to be built somewhere around Hwy 290 and SH130.  While there's farmland out there, that land is not considered as environmentally sensitive as that over the aquifer.  Those roads would seem to facilitate easy public access to major events ---which may minimize the need to build more roads to the track with public funds.
It could be seen as providing an economic boost to east Austin and Manor.  The potential economic return to central Texas serves as a strong argument for at least some government support of the track.  Seems to me that's worthwhile.
I lived near the track at Watkins Glen at one point. The track provided a significant boost to the local economy and took up a relatively small portion of the natural environment.

Last edited by rickb (2010-07-12 09:57:31)

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#3 2010-07-12 08:55:45

cycling74
Member
Registered: 2008-09-28
Posts: 61

Re: F the F1 Proposal -- Austin's Newest Potential Boondoggle

While there is still lots of mystery surrounding this announcement, $25-50M sees like a small investment to put Austin on yet another international stage and for potentially raking in enormous tax revenue. As is stands, I fully support F1 in Austin.

Oh, and as a resident of East Austin living in a small efficient house, we need some quality hotels over here for our guests. This track would bring those hotels.

Last edited by cycling74 (2010-07-12 08:58:16)

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#4 2010-07-13 19:06:35

doughead
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 37

Re: F the F1 Proposal -- Austin's Newest Potential Boondoggle

There is supposed to be an infusion of 25 million dollars a year for ten years from the state of Texas to this project, this at a time when state workers have not had a raise in ten years and their benefits package has been severely eroded. FI owner Bernie Ecclestone has a very sketchy business and moral record. There is the possibility of him pulling the race after the state and local entities have invested in the infrastructure to make it possible. If his numbers do not add up to his satisfaction he will leave the state of Texas holding the bag.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Ecclestone
Rick Perry is in this deal up to his eyeballs with our money.

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#5 2010-08-28 05:12:30

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Re: F the F1 Proposal -- Austin's Newest Potential Boondoggle

The $25 million figure comes from a STATE slush fund set aside to lure sporting events to Texas. Ex-Austin Mayor Kirk Watson was the sponsor of the bill that made F1 racing qualify for these funds.

The funds are to be paid out as $25 million per year. If Bernie pulls the race after the first year, the state will have only spent $25 million in taxpayer funds while netting a substantial amount of tourism dollars that would likely exceed the $25 million.

Formula 1 racing would be a great addition to Central Texas. If the track wasn't going to be built, that land was designated to be sliced into hundreds of small platts for a massive housing development that would have created a lot more impervious cover than this track will.

I'm a proponent, but a realist. Here's what's likely to happen: Red McCombs and the other investors are dropping a racetrack on a BIG plot of land just east of Austin. The racetrack will take this land out of the market for 10 years. The land surrounding the track will also be in a weird limbo for those 10 years. But Austin will likely sprawl out in that direction in the next decade. All this property also has good access to Texas 130. Ten years from now, the track gets torn down, and Red McCombs can sell that land to developers at whatever price the property has appreciated to. The land around it will also leap up in value because it's no longer right next to a race track. The question to ask is who will pay taxes on the land during the ten years? Investing in this project is a means of tax-sheltering a property investment that is bound to pay off huge in ten years.

Seth

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