Long Pond, PA (Oct. 17, 2014)– Governor Tom Corbett today announced a $1 million Economic Growth Initiative (EGI) grant to assist in Pocono Raceway’s renovation and improvement plan.
“This raceway is a major tourism catalyst for Pennsylvania bringing in tourism dollars from neighboring states and around the country,” said Gov. Corbett. “This investment will help ensure the safety of event spectators as well maintain the viability of this worldwide destination.”
The project will include substantial improvements to the raceway’s main facility entrance with the rebuilding of two, 50 year old tunnels. These tunnels provide the only entrance and exit from within the racetrack. The project will also include construction of a pedestrian walkway.
“As a structure that has stood for as long as this, safety becomes paramount in what we look at in projects that we must undertake here at Pocono Raceway,” stated Brandon Igdalsky, Raceway President and CEO. “This project not only will shore up the safety & longevity of this area of the property, but also increase that first impression of a facility that is instrumental to tourism in the Pocono Mountains. This project will help us highlight not just who we are, but allow us to help showcase the region and our geography. In addition, it will open up a new ability to allow pedestrians to be able to safely use our tunnels as well as vehicle traffic.”
Pocono Raceway has generated more than $250 million in income for Northeast Pennsylvania residents. The attraction supports more than 2,700 jobs, and has generated almost $15 million of tax revenue for the commonwealth.
In 2012, Gov. Corbett reformed the state’s method of funding Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program with a significant redesign, making the process more transparent and objective. Projects are now selected based upon their job-creation potential, their economic impact, as well as their viability and construction readiness.
Prior to Gov. Corbett taking office, the state’s spending and borrowing for capital redevelopment assistance had become unsustainable for the state and its taxpayers, growing from $400 million in 1986 to slightly more than $4 billion in 2010. Gov. Corbett also said that the program had strayed considerably from its intended purpose of encouraging and assisting job growth through regional economic development projects.
In the program’s prior announcements, the Corbett administration announced 58 new Economic Growth Initiative grants, totaling more than $133 million. The announced projects are expected to create more than 45,000 jobs in 24 counties across the state.
To ensure the commonwealth can continue supporting Economic Growth Initiative grants, Gov. Corbett continued to urge the state legislature to enact meaningful pension reform and address the current pension system’s $50 billion debt. Ballooning pension costs, which consume approximately 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund revenues, detract from the commonwealth’s ability to invest in economic development and projects that spur job creation.
For more information on the program, visit the Budget Office online at www.budget.state.pa.usand select the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program link.