COTA takes massive financial hit after Texas denies funds

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The Circuit of the Americas - the venue for the US Grand Prix since 2012 - is set to take a massive financial hit as a result of it being denied at least $20 million in government funding from the State of Texas.

According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, the Texas governors' office has rejected COTA's annual application for reimbursement linked to the 2018 US Grand Prix.

The American circuit critically relies on an annual subsidy from the state to make ends meet for its hosting of the Formula 1 event.

In the past, COTA has received on average well over $20 million each year since 2012 in the form of a reimbursement typically paid several months after the race.

However, COTA's representatives have apparently failed to meet a September deadline for submitting a required human trafficking prevention plan upon which their reimbursement is contingent.

"In this case, the law is clear that if a human trafficking prevention plan is not submitted 30 days prior to an event, a reimbursement from the Major Events Fund cannot be issued," a spokesman for Texas Governor Greg Abbott told The Statesman.

"The State of Texas and COTA have a productive partnership that has had a tremendous economic impact on the city of Austin and the state as a whole, and our office is already working with COTA on next year’s race."

COTA officials have defended their case, with the track's executive VP Rick Abbott taking to Twitter yesterday to explain that a plan had already been filed for the venue's MOTOGP event.

"The anti-trafficking plan was on file for other events throughout the year, so it is not a question of implementation," he said.

"In April of 2018, the Circuit of the Americas operations team developed a human trafficking plan to be included in the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the 2018 MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas. That plan stayed in place throughout the entire 2018 race season."

Abbott remained optimistic that an agreement could be worked out between V-COTA and the State.

"As the reimbursement for the 2017 USGP was not paid until 10 months after the event, we remain hopeful the 2018 issues can be resolved."

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