Pence lukewarm on Indianapolis Motor Speedway bill

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The state's top political leader is voicing concerns about a plan to offer financial help to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Governor Mike Pence told reporters Wednesday that he has reservations about the way IMS bill is crafted. Pence is concerned that it provides little private investment opportunity.

The state Senate approved the $100 million plan in a 37-12 vote last month. The Speedway already spends $5 to $15 million annually on maintenance and is facing competitive pressure from newer facilities.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus went to the Statehouse to ask for financial help in February.

With $100 million in bonds, the Speedway will add lights to allow night racing at the historic track. It will also renovate the stands, upgrade facilities and install high-tech video boards.

Lighting the track, as well as grandstands and parking lots, could cost as much as $20 million. Building renovations and track upgrades could cost as much as $30 million. Another $10 million would be spent to make the Speedway compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The money would be essentially taken out as a lump sum loan and paid back over 20 years. A special taxing zone at IMS would provide $5 million a year. Another $2 million annually would be paid by the Speedway.

See more details on the plan here.

As Gov. Pence expressed reservations about the plan, the IMS touted a new study says the Speedway brings about $510 million to Indiana's economy, along with 6,200 "direct and indirect" jobs (created by IMS events and operations, Indiana-based INDYCAR teams and the Dallara facility), over $235 million in annual employee compensation at IMS and associated motorsports businesses and direct spending by IMS and other motorsports businesses in 65 of 92 Indiana counties. The study also says 200,000 out-of-state visitors spent more than $145 million combined at the three IMS events in 2012. Visitors to IMS came from all 50 states and more than 50 countries.