LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2011 (AFP) - The group behind bringing Formula One racing back to America next year are facing fresh criticism from sceptics who say the cash-strapped Texas state can't afford the ambitious scheme.
With a budget deficit estimated to reach $27 billion over the next two years, some state lawmakers are wondering where the $250 million is going to come from to build a new race facility in Austin, Texas.
The plan is to initially pump $25 million into the facility then use the revenue generated to reinvest $25 million each year for 10 years.
Backers of the project have estimated that the Formula One race will bring in about $300 million in revenue annually to the city but Texas senator Dan Patrick isn't buying it.
"This is something we should not be doing," Patrick said. "How can you justify spending $25 million? That is 500 teachers."
Opponents of the plan think the money would be better spent on education and preventing the layoff of teachers.
Formula One is expected to make a return to the US in 2012 with the purpose-built Austin circuit. Under the agreement, the Texas capital city will host the US Grand Prix until 2021.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted a US Grand Prix from 2000-2007, an eight-year run that had it's problems.
In 2005, 14 of 20 drivers withdrew just prior to the start of the race to protest concerns about tyre safety.
Prior to arriving at Indianapolis, Formula One had run in the US in Long Beach, California, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix on a variety of street circuits.