NASCAR stalls in Snohomish Co.

I’m a little wary of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, but he certainly made the right call by rejecting a deal that would have leveraged only $50 million in private money to secure $300 million in public financing to build a NASCAR track near Marysville. [Snohomish County out of the race for a NASCAR track]

Believe it or not, Tim Eyman and I do agree on some things, not the least of which being public financing of stadiums. Both of us opposed Seattle’s stadium binge, and both of us were rather pissed when the Legislature put up the money for Safeco Field despite a rejection at the polls.

I remember once hearing an interview with Ed Snyder, at the time the owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, being asked about why he was building a new arena with private money (albeit on public land.) He said that if a stadium or arena doesn’t make business sense, it doesn’t make business sense, regardless of who’s paying for it.

I’m sure there are a lot of disappointed local NASCAR fans, but Reardon should be congratulated for his business-like decision.


  1. 1

    Chuck spews:

    You know Goldy, I would be in complete agreement with you on this one EXEPT for the fact that I have been force fed a football stadium as well as a baseball facility of which I have little interest in either. Added to the fact that historicly niether one of those sports are real moneymakers (exept for poor paying jobs they are a glut on the community). Now something of interest to me comes to town, that is a proven moneymaker everywhere and because they arent going to pave the streets with gold the counsel backs off. It is wrong just for that reason.

  2. 2

    Jim King spews:

    Goldy- no business decision, all politics. Number one opponent of NASCAR track is Senator Haugen- who will now be chairing Senate Transportation Committee. No way to get millions of transportation money diverted to make NASCAR happen with her sitting in the catbird seat, so pull the plug…

  3. 3

    Dave spews:

    If this is such a great financial deal let the track owner finance at least 1/2 of the project. A business owner who is willing to only put up 20% (or less)of the entire total does not have faith in the business he/she is trying to build. Let the track owners put up 50 million cash and be on the hook for another 75 milion and maybe taxpayers and lawmakers would feel better about the deal.

  4. 4

    Aaron spews:

    Things that make business sense are for business. For those things that do not make business sense (tragedy of the commons anyone?) we have constructed an entity called government.

  5. 5

    Jim King spews:

    And, as for Safeco Field, the leaders of the opposition repeatedly stated that they were NOT opposed to a new baseball field, but were opposed to the particular financing package. The Legislature, after the very narrow rejection OF THE FINANCING PACKAGE enacted a different package, addressing the objections of the opposition.

    And, of course, Seahawks Stadium was APPROVED by the VOTERS.

  6. 6

    Chuck spews:

    Wrong, Jim, the opposition said they were not opposed to the baseball stadium, they were opposed to the public paying for it…as in make the user pay for it. The alternative the legislature came up with the rental car tax and hotel tax, as if the sports fans are the only ones that use these services. Face it the legislature ignored the will of the people on this vote as well. As I said the investors werent willing to pave the streets with gold combined with the anti car political correctness has killed a financial lucrative deal for all. NASCAR brings in money, football and baseball are a financial blight on the community but hey WE HAVE OUR BALL TEAM…give me a break!

  7. 7

    Aaron spews:

    Ignoring the will of the people? Please ignore it. Thank God we live in a republic. We have all seen what the “will of the people” can do. I cite Eyman’s intitiatives, the monorail and all the “sanctity o marriage” intitiatives throughout the country.

  8. 8

    Chuck spews:

    Well I personally agree on the monorail, but as for Eyemans initiatives, they generally make a hell of a lot of sense to me. As far as the marrage issue, marrage is historicaly between a man and a woman, the gays using that is like the christians stealing the Star of David to represent them, the Jews would be understandably pissed. If the gaty want a union, they need to call it something else and not steal someone elses symbol.

  9. 9

    Goldy spews:

    NASCAR is a proven money maker? Prove it.

    In educating myself on the intricate details of gambling policy (as I am wont to do when taking on an issue) I could find no reputable research that could prove that “community based gaming” was effective as an economic develpment tool, despite promises of jobs and tax revenues. In fact, much of the literature suggested the opposite.

    I bring this up because the literature often compared gambling to comparative claims of publicly financed stadiums. Again… there was no good research showing that these projects created net jobs comparable to the costs.

    By the way, I get a lot of “commie, lefty, socialist” name-calling thrown my way, and just for the record, I’d like to point out that I voted against both stadiums and the monorail (and the latte tax, though I deeply regret the way that vote was interpreted.) My politics are quite a bit more nuanced than people like Cynic-la-di-da are willing to acknowledge.

  10. 10

    Jim King spews:

    Sorry Chuck- the record is quite clear about what the opposition said, even if the mythology now reads differently…

  11. 11

    Mr. Cynical-dy spews:

    Goldy–Hold on there big fella. You are one of the most “nuanced” SOB’s God ever created!!!! (Nuance meaning a subtle distinction as opposed to a shade of color). I acknowledge that and salute you!!!
    Goldy–you have obviously never been screwed by the government. Once you have been, you may even start leaning to the Right like me!!
    And as far as all this stadium and racetrack stuff goes…I’m with you. If the business case is so great proponents should clearly make it. And once they make it, if they truly believe it, they should do it themselves. Why get the government involved…other than trying for a handout.
    One wise friend however pointed out that these stadiums and tracks are a form of welfare for the middle-class who can afford to attend these games and enjoy…you know the middle-class who supports the lifestyle unemployed and rich guys!

  12. 12

    Aaron spews:

    Now, believe you me, I am no Nascar fan, but the Nascar track would probably be a “money-maker.” The Economic Benefits Analysis released by Berk & Associates supports this, as well as examples such as the tracks in Kansas and California.

    Furthermore, the track itself would be supported with ISC money and proceeds from the issuance of bonds, the debt service for which would probably paid through some sort of increment tax (TIF Bonds). This would not increase taxes, nor would it place any burden on non-Nascar attending residents.

    Road improvements, etc. would be paid by the taxpayers of Washington State. In effect, this would be a subsidy for ISC and Nascar fans, but this is a well established practice. The government has always been in the business of building roads to where people want to go, regardless of the private ownership status of the destination.

  13. 13

    Greg spews:

    If it would have been such a “moneymaker”, how about the state receive 80% of the profits generated from the track for it’s 80% investment in constructing it? No way, you say? Then pay for it yourself. Enough subsidizing pro-sports and spoiled millionaire “athletes” already.

  14. 14

    leo mcalinden spews:

    Dover race fixed or what? why were their no caution flags thrown,when the top 3 ford contenders were in the lead. But when the chevy,s took the lead. The flag was thrown for trash on the track!!!