ISC owns 12 racetracks in the US, and are planning a new 80,000 seat facility in the Pacific Northwest. This story about site selection has a number of interesting details which characterize the political and economic problems associated with stadium development -- the availability of large land tracts, transport, and the cooperation of local officials. One thing in particular struck my eye though - a proposed federal tax break for construction of racing facilities.
[I]f the ISC opens the "Great Northwest Speedway" by 2007, it may be able to write off a hefty portion of its construction costs, thus saving millions of dollars in taxes. A provision tacked into a proposed federal law would extend the amount of time in which companies can depreciate expenses of constructing a track, grandstands, suites, souvenir shops, parking lots and even landscaping.
That bill emerged from the Senate Finance Committee and is awaiting action by the U.S. Senate. Committee spokeswoman Jill Gerber said it would apply to companies that open race facilities after the law is enacted and before 2007. She said an economic analysis projects that companies would save -- and federal coffers lose out on -- an estimated $92 million in the next 10 years.
If someone can convince me that this subsidy is in the national interest, I'd have to quit calling myself an economist.