The Texas Major Event Trust Fund has been the key to a USGP in Austin since 2012 and with recent news that the governor, Greg Abbott, will be cutting the amount of the fund used to pay for the sanctioning fee for Formula 1, the question of a USGP in 2016 is now in question.
It’s troubling for US fans as the conventional narrative is about the use of the fund for the race or in some cases the efficacy of the ROI the fund receives but as Forbes points out, Mr. Abbott had no concern in explaining what the impact of F1 in Texas is:
“Formula 1 and COTA have a tremendous economic impact on both the City of Austin and the State of Texas. Hundreds of thousands of people travel from all over the world to attend the United States Grand Prix in Austin, which in turn pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy and supports thousands of jobs.”
It’s a bid odd that the METF is now being cut given the clear impact Mr. Abbott seems to acknowledge. Why cut an event that pumps hundreds of millions into the state?
The issue I’ve read the most is centered on the amount of tax revenue the state gains from the USGP and many suggest that the estimates shared with the public or overstated but when Mr. Abbott clearly feels the race pumps hundreds of millions into the state economy, it makes it a little more difficult to understand why cutting the METF for the event makes sense.
The residents of Texas didn’t fund the construction of the circuit and yet it still seems that many are having a hard time getting behind the event for whatever reason. It does make one wonder how building huge stadiums for football or baseball in urban areas and seeking major tax breaks and incentives is perfectly fine while seeking to use the METF for a venue that was not taxpayer subsidized is not. Clearly the risk and major investment is the infrastructure for the circuit and not the hosting fees.
Let’s get it sorted, Texas, because F1 should be in the US and the Circuit of the Americas is licensed and approved to host the world’s most advanced form of motorsport. It also happens to be one of the better circuits recently built.
It seems there is always someone who relishes the chance to take the stuffing out of a situation but I’ll admit that while I am not steeped in Texas politics, I am bereft of the personal reasons and vendettas some folks have with COTA or its owners to the point of trying to prevent the USGP from taking root in Austin and becoming a very successful venture for the state of Texas.
Hat Tip: Forbes