State Approves Speedway Incentives, Looks At Ark Encounter

State incentives to help bring a NASCAR Sprint Cup race to Kentucky have been approved in Frankfort. And another proposed attraction in northern Kentucky is seeking similar tax breaks.

On July 9th, the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta will host a 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race. But to land the race, the track needed to expand seating capacity to 65,000.

To help fund the expansion, the track applied for state sales tax rebates, which have now been approved.

Based on an investment of $85 million, the track will receive more than $20 million in performance-based rebates over a 10-year period.

The developers of the proposed Ark Encounter theme park in Grant County are seeking similar tax incentives. Their request has received preliminary approval from the state.

An independent consultant will now perform an analysis to see if the $172 million theme park meets the requirements of the statute.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.