Birmingham council puts the brakes on funding for Indy car race - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham council puts the brakes on funding for Indy car race

The contract would help organize the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, held at Barber Motorsports. Source: WBRC video The contract would help organize the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, held at Barber Motorsports. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council set up a roadblock for a $300,000 contract for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

The money was for Zoom Motorsports to run the event, which brings in a lot of tourist and funds for the area since 2010.

"The event has created almost $80 million in economic impact for the region and the city of Birmingham in particular," Jay Roberson, Birmingham City Councilor, said.

Some council members questioned giving the sporting event tax dollars.

"What are other cities contributing to this? Birmingham contributes the support for everything," Valorie Abbott, Birmingham City Councilor, said.

Councilman Steven Hoyt questioned why a majority black city should continue to give money to the event run at the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds.

"I've seen nobody, nobody who looks like me make any decisions with Barber sports. None. Zero," Hoyt said.

Finally, Council President Roderick Royal objected to the contract. Royal did not want to commit city tax dollars to a four-year agreement. Royal insisted on a change in the contract language to insure only a yearly commitment.

"I support your event but consistent with we heard up if you are seeing all this money doesn't it seem like the city's share should go down?" Royal said.

At the end of the debate Royal asked Mayor William Bell how they should proceed and the mayor sat silent for more than a minute refusing to answer the council president. After a pair of votes the appropriaiton died.

Most expect the item will be back because of what the race means to Birmingham in terms of economic impact. A representative of Zoom Motor Sports and Mayor Bell had no comment on the council's action afterwards.

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