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Grand Prix road work costs still increasing

Highway and Road TransportationOpen-Wheel RacingAuto RacingGrand Prix of BaltimorePublic OfficialsGovernment

Nearly a year after the last race car whizzed down Baltimore's streets, road work for the Grand Prix Indycar race is still costing the city money. 

On Wednesday, city officials are set to authorize a $485,000 payment to P. Flanigan & Sons Inc. for road work done in 2011 and 2012 for the Baltimore Grand Prix. 

The company's road work ended up being more expensive than anticipated, but city transportation officials didn't immediately bring the increased costs to the board. 

Adrienne Barnes, spokeswoman for the city's transporation department, said officials there reviewed the cost increases to make sure they were justified before submitting a request for payment. She added that the road work would have been needed even without the race, because the roads were in need of repaving. 

"The majority of these roadways had not been improved in over 20 years and were in need of major repairs," Barne said in an email. "As a result of this project, downtown roadways are now in good condition for commuters and will remain so for years to come, pending any major utility breaks or developments. During construction, major design changes and unforeseen conditions were encountered that adversely affected the project budget and timeline. As a result, the city acted in its best interest and the interest of the taxpayers to conduct a thorough review to reach the appropriate amount owed for all work completed by the contractor."  

Documents submitted to the Board of Estimates blame an "administrative error" and an "oversight" for the delay in the documentation of the cost increase. 

During its three-year run, Baltimore's Grand Prix IndyCar race also cost the city about $1.4 million in increased staffing, overtime and related expenses, but brought in millions in tax revenue. 

About 160,000 people attended the race the first year, generating $47 million in economic impact, according to a city-commissioned study. About 131,000 attended the three-day weekend event in 2012, generating $42.3 million in economic impact. No study was conducted for the 2013 race.

The studies for the two years said the race yielded $1.7 million in city taxes and $2.1 million in state taxes in 2011, and $1.3 million each for the city and state in 2012.

Race On LLC, a firm led by local financier J.P. Grant, took over the race in 2012 and handled it in 2013 as well.

Citing scheduling conflicts, Grand Prix of Baltimore organizers announced in September that the race would be canceled for the next two years and is not likely to return. 


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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