• IndyCar agrees to shoulder all costs for Boston race

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    Organizers for the IndyCar race scheduled to zoom through the Seaport on Labor Day weekend could be on the hook for more than $16.5 million to cover a range of expenses, including public safety, transportation and other costs, according to agreements they and officials inked this week.

    Race promoters months agreed to cover “any and all costs” associated with the three-day event. But the potential total — spelled out in a series of memorandums of understandings released today and signed by the Grand Prix of Boston and public officials — is the first estimate of what the race would cost, which includes payments if the race promoters don’t fulfill its agreement.

    The city of Boston would be paid $4.2 million, according to its 31-page agreement, with the biggest total — $3.08 million — going to cover work by Boston Public Works and the city’s transportation department. The agreement said that also includes the cost “for design, bid [and to]build infrastructure in the event of default.”

    Boston Police costs were estimated to run roughly $524,500, while Boston Fire services would run just under $433,000. Payments from the race organizers would go directly to the city.

    The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority’s (MCAA) bill to race organizers could stand as high $5.2 million, including $2 million in “improvements” to Cypher Street and Fargo Street, plus another $1.2 million in food and drink costs “associated with lost rental income.”

    Organizers are also paying the MCAA nearly another $1 million in licensing fees.
    They’re not the only costs. Massport would receive $1.1 million for estimated costs, including $346,000 to cover State Troopers providing crowd management, plus another $3.1 million in potential “construction, repair and restoration” expenses. Massport is also receiving $14,300 in license fees.

    The preliminary budget for services provided by MassDOT, meanwhile, stands at $1.1 million plus another $650,000 for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The state transportation department is also due roughly $18,000 in fees.

    ‘Any and all costs’

    The memorandums of understanding comes months after race organizers and public officials had agreed to a letter of intent in which IndyCar promoters say they would cover “any and all costs” associated with the event. At the time, both sides agreed to hold multiple meetings to hash out an agreement in addition to a series of public meetings.

    Promoters say they reached agreements this week with Boston, MassDOT, the MBTA, the
    Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and MassPort, in part ensuring that the Grand Prix of Boston “assumes all costs associated with the race with no burden to taxpayers,” according to promoters.

    John Casey, Grand Prix of Boston president, said in a statement that the agreements were “the culmination of a lot of hard work, coordination and leadership from all of the agencies involved.”

    The event is scheduled to run September 3-5 along a temporary 2.2-mile (3.52-kilometer) course that weaves around the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

    It has faced opposition from a number of Seaport residents as well as the group Coalition Against IndyCar Boston, which has pushed issues ranging from environmental concerns to noise levels.

    Promoters say they still need to hash out “road improvement and traffic management plan,” as well as details around transportation and safety and security. They said this week’s agreements also established an “irrevocable letter of credit protecting the [city and state]agencies from any unforeseen costs should the race not occur.”

    Walsh signed a deal last year bringing the race to Boston for up to five years.

    An aide to Gov. Charlie Baker said his office with the state agencies and the city to secure the agreements and “provide safeguards for taxpayers and residents.”

    “The administration will continue to coordinate with all participants on an event that will support Massachusetts’ tourism economy and expects organizers to meet all standard project construction and permitting requirements,” Lizzy Guyton, a Baker spokeswoman, said in a statement.

    Mayor Martin Walsh’s office said he was similarly “encouraged” that race promoters are hitting the necessary milestones and requirements to put the race. “We look forward to the next step in the process,” Walsh’s spokeswoman, Laura Oggeri, said.

    TNS

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