According to the Austin Chronicle, the USGP has moved onto firmer financial ground after the event organizers and builders of the Circuit of the Americas, Full Throttle Productions, agreed to pay $4 million per year into the state’s Major Events Trust Fund — from which the race would get its $25 million per year state contribution — for the life of the race’s 10-year contract with Formula 1.
At least I think. I’ll gently chide the folks at the Chronicle — one of the city’s alternative weeklies, from the looks of things (I’m not expert on the city’s media market) — for not doing a better job of clarifying things. But I’ll give them a break given the intricacies of the issue. It’s not one that’s easy to clarify.
Here’s my attempt:
The city of Austin, which needs to sign on for this effort* to receive the state funding, was balking at doing so. So Full Throttle stepped up and promised to put in $4 million the first year. But that wasn’t enough, so Full Throttle came back and said, “Fine, we’ll put up the money for the whole time.”
That means that the city won’t have to foot any part of the bill. And so it looks like the city will sign on to whatever agreement is needed to get the whole state funding process in motion.*
There’s a City Council meeting Thursday where more answers should come via the city agreeing to this deal and officially getting the funding ball rolling.
* Point one that’s not clear: Why does it have to be the city when the track is being built out in a different county?
* Point two that’s no clear: Whether the state — facing more significant budget problems than everyone realized not too long ago — will agree to this funding. There are still education vs. Formula 1 politics playing out in Austin, which also happens to be the state’s capital. (Side note: Probably having the race in Austin, which can be easily accessible for the elected leaders, will help get this deal done. It makes the negotiating easier.)