INDIANAPOLIS | The Cline Avenue Bridge in East Chicago, a 1.2-mile span that once carried 35,000 vehicles a day, is being rebuilt by a private company that will charge a toll to drive it because the state of Indiana refused to spend $30 million to replace it.
On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 11-0 to give $100 million in state tax revenue over the next 20 years to the private company that owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile road used by a few dozen vehicles just a couple of weeks a year.
And the legislators were happy to do it — sharing stories of Indianapolis 500 memories, watching videos of speedway highlights and promising to do anything to help the speedway officials asking for assistance during the hourlong committee hearing.
Senate Bill 91, which now goes to the full chamber, creates a "motorsports improvement district" containing the speedway and adjacent properties.
The legislation calls for up to $5 million a year in sales and income tax revenue generated within the district to be diverted from the state's general fund and given to the speedway for improvements.
The speedway's spending plan includes $30 million in facility upgrades, $20 million for grounds, $20 million for lighting, $15 million for video screens and $10 million for information boards.