Formula 1

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin’s Heat Wave is Breaking Records 

Camp Mabry reached a record 107 degrees yesterday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from noon today until 10:00 pm Friday night. The Weather Service says too much physical activity outdoors could cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Image courtesy of the Circuit of the Americas

You probably didn't feel it, but it was a little cooler in Austin yesterday. The high of 99 degrees at Camp Mabry broke a two-week string of triple-digit temperatures. But the break's over, with temperatures expected to cruise back to the 100-degree mark.

F1 Committee Speeds Up Race Progress

Photo by KUT News.

UT Regents To Consider Increasing Endowment Payout

The University of Texas System Board of Regents is scheduled to vote  today on whether to increase the payout rate for the state's largest higher education endowment, the Permanent University Fund.  It's a 13.65 percent increase for a total of more than $575 million.  The UT System and the Texas A&M System share the funds, but UT gets more. 

Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

Planners for the proposed Formula One race track in Southeast Travis County are a step closer to starting construction on some of the buildings at the track.

Officials met with several Travis County agencies last night, including the Transportation and Natural Resources and Sheriff's Departments and Fire Marshal’s Office, to discuss transportation and safety planning. County authorities are issuing building permits for more structures at the track today.

Photo by Full Throttle Productions

Update: The meeting has been canceled. Council member Laura Morrison's policy advisor Barbara Rush said in an email that it was due to a "public posting issue." A new meeting date has yet to be scheduled.

Earlier: Formula One event organizers will hold a public meeting downtown this afternoon to talk about and possibly take action on a deal authorized by Austin City Council last month. The council gave its endorsement of an F1 racetrack being constructed in southeastern Travis County, unlocking $250 million state subsidies over ten years.

The board of directors of the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee (CELOC) has scheduled a 2:30 pm meeting at 100 Congress Ave., Suite 1300. You can read their agenda here.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Hey, Texplainer: What are the State Comptroller’s Events Trust Funds, and how do they work?

With ground broken on the Formula 1 Circuit of the Americas racetrack southeast of Austin, the racing venue recently found itself in a dispute between the city of Austin and State Comptroller Susan Combs over the use of one of four trust funds intended to encourage the hosting of events in Texas. The funds provide money upfront to host events before the state recovers the money from hotel, alcoholic beverage, car rental, sales, and general use taxes in the period during and after the event.

Picture by KUT News

THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS OVER!!! (Sorry just had to get that out of my system)

On to the news of the day (so far):

Watching and Waiting for Gov. Perry

Photo by KUT News

Another hot day ahead in Central Texas. Not that you needed me to tell you that. The forecast will remain pretty much the same until....hmmm....maybe October?

So why not sit back, stay cool and read this round up of the day's news.

Screen shot by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Austinites will have to wait till next week to know the fate of a planned Formula One racetrack in Southeastern Travis County, but its not just Austinites paying attention.  People from around the world are voicing their opinions on the racetrack in online forums, op-eds and emails to City Hall. 

The debate is driving a lot more traffic to the City's TV station as well.

Channel Six, the station that broadcasts city meetings, normally attracts between 300 to 400 viewers to its websites during council meetings. But not on Thursday.

Photo by Circuit of the Americas

Saying they need more time to consider a proposal to endorse a Formula One track being constructed in southeastern Travis County, Austin City Council members voted 6-1 to postpone a vote on a deal that would unlock $25 million in state subsidies to pay for costs associated with F1 races in Austin. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the lone dissenter.

Photo by Broken Piggy Bank

San Antonio tourism officials are hoping to attract the international travelers who could flood Austin during Formula One events. Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the ideal international visitor would stay a few evenings in Austin and then head to San Antonio.

“There will be San Antonio opportunities to kind of create synergy for that," she said. "We can provided that extended stay for the people that are going to enjoy the race.”

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Want to load up on the latest Formula One paraphernalia? Race over to Austin City Hall.

F1 baseball caps, water bottles and bumper stickers were distributed today in a public relations blitz ahead of City Council's vote on the race track project. So many were given out that white caps speckled the capacity audience in City Council Chambers -- a dramatic image for City Council members from their seats on the dais.

It was a dramatic morning at Austin City Council. Supporters and opponents of a Formula 1 track being built in southeastern Travis County squared off during public comment period. Substantially more people signed up to speak in support of F1 (246 of them), but opponents (26 people) were just as passionate.

City council could vote today on whether to endorse the track. Such a blessing would put the wheels in motion for $25 million in annual state subsidies. So what is the agreement? We posted it above for you to see for yourself. See a fullscreen version here, or download the .pdf here.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

Lawmakers at Odds Over Windstorm Insurance

Texas lawmakers are running out of time to overhaul the cash-strapped Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.  That’s the insurer of last resort for people who live along the Texas coast. The Texas Senate approved its version of a TWIA overhaul bill yesterday. It’s very different from the House version which is stricter and limits how much residents could sue TWIA for, if they feel their policy isn’t being honored.

Photo provided by Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee

Austin City Council members heard a presentation today on Formula One Austin, that asks the city to contribute $4 million per year to a fund that would be managed by the group.  The money would come from additional tax revenues generated by people visiting Austin for F1 events.

Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

The proposed Formula One racetrack has yet to be built southeast of Austin but the date is set for its first race. Mark your calendars:  it’s scheduled for June 17, 2012. If temperatures next year are anything similar to what we're seeing now that could be one hot race, literally.

Photo courtesy of Full Throttle Productions.

A proposed Formula One racetrack southeast of Austin is not a done deal, but that hasn't stopped F1 from helping to fund upgrades to a road that would lead to the track.

Tuesday, Travis County Commissioners voted to accept $375,000 from Circuit of the Americas LLC, to use for improvements to FM 812. Those upgrades would prepare the road for heavier traffic on race days at the as-yet-unbuilt racetrack.

F1 site
Photo by KUT News

Heavy machinery is breaking ground on a plot of land near the airport that will soon host F1 racers from around the world. reports that race promoter Tavo Hellmund was there yesterday to oversee the official groundbreaking.

Cowboys Stadium
Image courtesy Cliff Baise

HKS, an architectural firm in Dallas, announced this morning that it will lead the team assembled to build a new Formula One track in Austin. HKS designed and built the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

Criminal Justic Complex
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Lawyers to Make Final Pitches in DeLay's Trial

Closing arguments are set for today in Tom DeLay's money laundering trial in Austin.  Prosecutors say the former U.S. House majority leader helped illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.  DeLay's attorneys say the money swap at the center of the case was legal.  He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Dallas Firm to Design Formula 1