Pence signs bill to fund upgrades at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill Friday that will help pay for improvements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

House Enrolled Act 1544 gives the Indiana Finance Authority the power to issue bonds to help raise $100 million for upgrades at IMS. The bill creates a Motorsports Investment District that will take sales and income tax at IMS property to be used for reinvestment in the track.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has contributed to the life of our state for more than a century, enhancing the global reputation of Indiana,” Pence said. “The legislation I signed today makes a state investment that will further economic development in the motorsports industry while also protecting the interests of Hoosier taxpayers.”

The legislation has several safeguards, including a security interest in IMS assets, an annual $2 million investment by the track through the life of the bonds and a guarantee of the debt.

Mark D. Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Company, expressed gratitude at the governor’s decision to sign the bill.

“The success of this legislation reflects their broad understanding of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, its impact on the state’s economy and our prospects for growth,” Miles said. “The company is committed to doing everything possible to produce a return for taxpayers. We’ve been humbled by the overwhelming enthusiasm we’ve received from Hoosiers as we’ve gone through the legislative process.”

The bill also creates a Motorsports Improvement Fund that will give loans to businesses including race tracks, team owners, drivers, suppliers and other qualified businesses. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation will oversee the fund.

According to the state, the motorsports industry employs about 23,000 people in Indiana. Thousands more work for motorsports-related companies in 91 of the state’s 92 counties.

Rep. Eric Turner (R) authored HEA 1544, and Rep. Steve Braun (R) co-authored the bill. Sen. Brandt Hershman sponsored it. Pence faced a Saturday deadline to sign the bill or veto it. If he took no action, the IMS bill could have become law without his signature.

The governor also revealed Friday that he signed Senate Enrolled Act 528, a bill designed to help Indiana’s casinos remain competitive. The bill does not allow live dealers, which is something supporters had hoped for.

The fate of the Marion County government bill remains unclear.

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