SALINAS — Monterey County Board of Supervisors has approved $9.7 million in funding for crucial repairs at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca, the only major track in the United States that is government owned.
Work that will be done includes resurfacing the iconic track and replacing the Start/Finish Bridge.
Late last year, the Board approved $450,000 for the design work for these projects. The County of Monterey Public Works, Facilities and Parks Department and the County’s Laguna Seca Recreation Area management firm, A&D Narigi Consulting LLC, are working with design consultants to complete plans, formalize the bid package and acquire any necessary permits.
Plans are to have the work completed in time for the 2023 racing season.
The financing for the project is composed of available Laguna Seca Enterprise Fund balance, some unassigned General Fund balance, a County-funded loan that will be paid back through Transient Occupancy Tax revenue over the next several years, and income from sponsorships.
“Laguna Seca has been as asset to our county and an asset to our region because events there bring in major revenue and they do keep people working in restaurants, hotels and other tourism related businesses,” said Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo. “This is an amount less than $10 million that we have delayed for so long, we have kicked the can down the road. We know that with some recent litigation, it’s only a matter of time before there is an injury that would cost us millions of dollars by neglecting our duty to do this maintenance.”
Supervisor Mary Adams, whose district includes the raceway, supported the project funding as an investment not only for safety but in Monterey County’s tourism industry.
“The track has been neglected far too long,” Adams said, adding that repairs are needed “if we are going to continue to compete in the world market of racing where we get international coverage, and that international coverage is what brings people to our county.”
Included in the approval is a plan for setting aside future Laguna Seca Recreation Area earnings into a special capital projects fund to prepare for future capital needs.