F1 Track to Seek Funds for Other Races
The promoters behind Austin’s Formula One racetrack will tap a state trust fund for more than F1. The Austin City Council authorized the Circuit of the Americas to act on the city’s behalf in negotiating payments from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.
The payments would be for four upcoming races, with the first scheduled for this spring.
The trust fund is meant to cover the costs of big events. But opponents say it’s not the city’s job to make COTA’s races financially sound.
“If COTA can’t figure out how to make this work by now, they need to put on their big boy pants and take their licks like everyone else,” said neighborhood activist Susan Moffat. “They should not be coming back to the city.”
The scene mirrored the initial fight over whether Austin would participate in the trust fund for Formula One, a battle that consumed the council all last summer.
Council member Bill Spelman argued that while the arrangement may not be a deal for the state, the city benefits.
“I’m not here to argue on behalf of all taxpayers in the state of Texas. I’m here to argue on behalf of the taxpayers and residents of the city of Austin,” Spelman said. “And in the city of Austin’s point of view, this is a very good deal.”
But others were concerned about entering into an agreement so quickly.
“I do not believe the city of Austin should engage in being a conduit to allowing these events to receive, to allow recreational events to receive public funds when we have such a desperate need for those funds to be spent in education and a variety of other programs,” council member Kathie Tovo said.
The resolution passed 5-2, with Tovo and Laura Morrison voting no. The next race at the circuit, MotoGP, is scheduled for April.