Circuit of the Americas denied $20M in state funding from 2018 F1 race

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott’s office confirms Circuit of the Americas will not receive $20 million in reimbursements from the state’s Major Events Reimbursement Programs following the Formula One race. COTA did not meet a state-mandated deadline to turn in a human trafficking prevention plan.

COTA is home to Central Texas’s Formula One Grand Prix race and many large scale concerts. State law required COTA to turn in a plan to prevent human trafficking within 30 days of an event, a deadline they missed, the Governor’s office said.

For the past five year’s COTA has recieved $18 to $27 million in reimbursements for the Grand Prix event. This year’s was expected to be at least $20 million. 

“In this case, the law is clear that if a human trafficking prevention plan is not submitted 30 days prior to an event, a reimbursement from the Major Events Fund cannot be issued. The State of Texas and COTA have a productive partnership that has had a tremendous economic impact on the city of Austin and the state as a whole, and our office is already working with COTA on next year’s race,” John Wittman, a spokesman for Abbott, told KXAN.

In a letter to COTA, Bryan Daniel, the Director of Economic Development and Tourism in the Governor’s office, wrote, “the U.S. Grand Prix is scheduled to begin on October 19th. But as you have since acknowledged, no human trafficking prevention plan was submitted until October 3rd.”

COTA Executive Vice President Rick Abbott released a statement through Twitter.

The letter sent to Circuit of the Americas is attached below.

HUGE: @COTA loses $20 million incentive reimbursements. @KXAN_News #txlege pic.twitter.com/vrDrMDICnj— Phil Prazan (@PhilPrazan) February 20, 2019

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