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Bike Race Report Does Not Prove It Was Profitable for Taxpayers – Rather It Proves MY Point It Was NOT!

I know this is a bit of an old story but it needed to be discussed and besides, even bloggers have a life outside politics!

The huge bike race that disrupted the area and was sold to taxpayers (through their representatives) as wonderful and profitable and was rightly criticized at this blog several weeks ago, was the subject of this Richmond Times-Dispatch article.  Here’s the title:

Bike race report: $88.9M in direct spending, total impact $170M

This was a clear attempt to answer criticism of the race’s financial impact.  And it sounds great at first:

The UCI Road World Championships generated an estimated $88.9 million in direct spending — with a total economic impact of nearly $170 million — and provided an ongoing boost to state and regional tourism, according to a new report released by the race organizers.

But the details prove MY point instead:

Independent economists who reviewed the study cautioned against interpreting the estimates as representative of an overall gain. They noted that the study doesn’t account for all of the economic activity that would have been crowded out by such a large event.

And there’s more; check out the estimates of who came and thus the assumptions are made upon which tax revenue estimates were made:

Chmura found that the event either met or exceeded its initial estimates.

Including direct and indirect spending as a result of the race, Chmura estimated the race had a total impact of $169.8 million on the state and $161.5 million in the region from 2012 to 2015.

Based on that, the firm estimated the state received $4.9 million in cumulative tax revenue and localities around the region received an estimated $3 million.

But the estimates are based on fuzzy numbers:

Chmura’s estimates are based on the crowd estimates generated by Richmond 2015 and a survey of 407 attendees. Richmond 2015 said there were 645,000 spectators over the course of 10 days.

Organizers have been careful to note that their spectator count represents the number of people watching the race each day, meaning that someone who watched three days would be counted three times.

I was as a matter of fact out at least three times downtown so I got counted three times!  And I did not rent a hotel nor spent extra money in the area because of the race.  Many places were closed for all or part of that week.  The REAL numbers show a different story:

That would in part explain why such hospitality indicators as meals tax revenues and hotel occupancy rates in September were either flat or down in the city compared to September 2014, Coates said.

So the organizers go back to their only real claim:  Civic pride:

“I think first and foremost, this is a platform to showcase our community, the Richmond region and the commonwealth of Virginia to the world and the nation through TV and Internet,” said Wilson Flohr, Richmond 2015’s CEO.

[Richmond] Mayor Jones agreed.

“We’re not the sleepy town that we once were, and I think the race really was a great visual of that,” he said. “A picture is worth a thousand words — this is a great place to live.”

The Richmond area IS a great place to live.  But let’s recall what ACTUALLY HAPPENED:  Businesses and government services were disrupted, schools closed, commuters were disrupted, and people left the area to avoid the disruption.  Next time someone comes up with a project like this bike race – better get the money from the PRIVATE sector or I say NO.

Here’s the report.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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