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F1 seeks $40M from county for Las Vegas Grand Prix infrastructure work

Updated June 6, 2023 - 1:30 pm

The infrastructure upgrades tied to preparing the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit are expected to cost $80 million, with race officials asking Clark County to contribute $40 million in public money.

Clark County commissioners voted Tuesday by a margin of 4-3 to enter into negotiations with Formula One regarding the request. Commissioners Justin Jones, Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Michael Naft voted against entering into those talks with race officials.

“I’m not really sure from the county’s perspective how we really got to this point,” Naft said during the meeting. “Formula One is already here. It’s great. I’m thrilled. … This negotiation feels a little bit too late.”

Crews began on April 2 the monthslong repaving project of public roads that will make up the majority of the race circuit. Those roads include Las Vegas Boulevard, Koval Lane, and Harmon and Sands avenues.

Liberty Media, F1’s parent company, is funding the road work privately, with Las Vegas Paving serving as the contractor for the project, according to Terry Miller of Miller Project Management, who serves as project manager for the Las Vegas race.

“It is all under the permit that has been issued by public works and comprehensive planning and the building department,” Miller said. “The work that is being considered under this resolution is the work being performed on county right of way only. … All of that is currently being paid for by Liberty Media.”

Miller noted that prevailing wages are being paid to workers on the infrastructure project.

The fact that the work is underway and the notion that F1 would ask for public assistance for the work has been brewing for several months, and Kirkpatrick wasn’t happy about being kept in the dark until the last minute.

‘Tired about not knowing what’s going on’

“It’s been brewing for a long time and I’m not coming to the table first. I’m not doing it,” Kirkpatrick said. “Nobody has showed us what the plan is on how constituents are going to move around. … My constituents are tired about not knowing what’s going on. This is a three-legged stool, and I’m not even willing to go into negotiations until I see what everybody else brings to the table. This is kind of a big deal.”

The third leg of the stool that Kirkpatrick noted is the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Commissioner William McCurdy also suggested the state step in and offer some of the requested public funding.

The initial round of repaving operations on portions of Sands, Harmon, Koval and private roads around F1’s paddock site and the MSG Sphere are planned through late August.

A final paving of the 3.8-mile circuit around the resort corridor would occur between July 16 and Sept. 15, ahead of the inaugural race weekend of Nov. 16-18.

The infrastructure work also will include readying the track ahead of the race with temporary barriers, pedestrian access points and other needed elements for operations and safety.

Race officials have projected the Grand Prix weekend would lead to a local economic impact of more than $1 billion, drawing around 105,000 spectators each day of the three-day event.

‘Matter of process’

The public-private partnership entered into with F1 on Tuesday allows Clark County Manager Kevin Schiller to negotiate the public contribution of the roadwork with race officials, which will be heard at a future commission meeting.

Clark County Commission Chairman Jim Gibson said the only way to determine what, if any, public money goes toward the project is to sit down with F1 officials.

“It’s more of a matter of process and what you’re willing to do, what you have to hear from them in order to get a negotiation going,” Gibson said.

Kirkpatrick wasn’t on the same page as Gibson, noting that the county is continually the last to know about monetary details related to funding major events.

“Sure, Kevin (Schiller), go sit down at the table, but don’t talk — not on my behalf, for sure,” Kirkpatrick said. “Because at the end of the day, it makes no sense.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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