Public funding for sports facilities is often controversial, but recent months have seen an atypical way for tax dollars to reach sports venues.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act tagged $195 billion for state and local governments in anticipation of tax revenue shortages. However, many states boasted large increases in tax revenues in 2021, allowing them to use the federal funds for a wide range of projects.
- North Carolina allocated $40 million to make infrastructure improvements to three race tracks, two of which, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Rockingham Speedway, formerly held NASCAR races.
- Arizona apportioned $7.2 million to help improve prizes at various horse racing venues.
A spokesperson for Arizona’s Department of Gaming, Maxwell Hartgraves, made the case for the spending, saying that, “high purses ensure high-quality races and full race cards that bettors in Arizona and around the country can engage through live and simulcast betting.”
Some city governments have used federal funds for public facilities such as skate parks and pickleball courts.
The North Wilkesboro Speedway hosted NASCAR races from 1949 to 1996, but has been dormant since then. The track announced last November that it will reopen this year, with races scheduled for August and October.
The Rockingham track, which has hosted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, among other events, announced it would be repaved in December.