Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

ISC Re-releases Road Show

Having failed to garner support among members of the public or of the legislature, the International Speedway Corporation will try on May 31 to find legislators who are willing to act on its behalf to get public financing for ISC's proposed NASCAR-capable speedway in Kitsap County.

Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen announced the work session of his "Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations":

Owen said the primary purpose of the session is to educate legislative members about the projected local and state economic impact from the ISC proposal, as well as to start a serious legislative discussion regarding the potential impacts of the proposed facility to the state.

According to the Port Orchard Independent, Owen believes ISC hasn't yet had a chance to tell its story to the legislature:

A legislative fact-finding meeting will take place later this month in Seattle to give representatives of the International Speedway Corp. a chance to present their case for construction of a NASCAR facility in Kitsap County.

“ISC didn’t get the opportunity to present their case in front of the Legislature this year,” said Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who is organizing the meeting. “So this is their chance to tell us what they have in mind. It’s an opportunity for them to speak and for the public to listen.”

It's true that ISC couldn't find a sponsor for its legislative proposal, so there were no hearings during this year's legislative session.

But, it's not as though ISC hasn't been trying to educate legislators and others for quite a while. Indeed, back on October 7, 2004, the Seattle Times carried an article about the first disclosure of ISC's plans for public financing -- back when Snohomish County was their chosen site:

State legislators yesterday heard for the first time what it could take to get racetrack developer International Speedway Corp. (ISC) to build a 75,000-seat track on a site between Marysville and Arlington.

Under a proposal jointly introduced by Snohomish County, the city of Marysville and ISC, the state and possibly the county would be asked to raise about $250 million through the sale of bonds to build the track, estimated to cost $300 million to build. The state would also foot the bill for road improvements around the track, including a possible new interchange on Interstate 5. No estimates have been made for the cost of those improvements.

The $250 million in bonds would be repaid with tax revenue generated by the track. The land would be leased to ISC, local officials said during a 90-minute legislative-committee meeting.

The track developer would pay $50 million toward the track's construction, the city's chief administrative officer, Mary Swenson, told the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations.

ISC has increased their offer from $50 million to $166 million, but otherwise it seems pretty much the same as it was in 2004. The government's share of construction costs would be $179 million rather than $250 million, but the government's costs for infrastructure improvements -- including roads and highways -- has yet to be estimated.

Maybe Owen has new members on his committee who need to be brought up to speed.


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