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Officials Defend $80M Incentive for Speedway Motorsports

http://66.225.205.104/JR20080822a.mp3

Concord City and Cabarrus County officials are taking heat for 80-million dollars in tax rebates they are offering to the owners of Lowe's Motor Speedway. But they say the outcome will benefit everyone. The deal has Speedway Motorsports fronting 80-million dollars for road improvement projects and then getting reimbursed by Concord and Cabarrus County, which could take up to 40 years. County Commissioner Coy Privette insists none of the incentives would be necessary had Concord officials not initially angered Speedway owner Bruton Smith by refusing permission for a dragstrip. "The whole county is going to be held accountable for covering up the city of Concord's mistake," says Privette. Concord Mayor Scott Padgett says the entire county will benefit from badly-needed road packages to be built with incentive money. "Actually Mr. Smith at the very first meeting that we had with him, talked about incentives," says Padgett. "Oddly enough, it'll soon be 50 years since Lowe's Motor Speedway has been there. And he built all of that with no incentives." Under the proposal, the city and county will reimburse Smith for 85-percent of the extra property tax revenue generated from a new dragstrip and improvements at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The proposal will be the subject of public before it's approved.