Despite Debt Woes, Greece to Fund Formula One Track

Posted October 3rd, 2012 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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Despite its debt crisis and deep recession, Greece says it is planning to invest in the construction of a Formula One race track.

The Athens government said Wednesday it will spend more than $37 million on the project, about a third of the cost of building the track it hopes will attract Grand Prix races. Officials said the track would boost tourism and create jobs.

Greek leaders have debated the project, set for a site on the Peloponnese peninsula, for years, facing opposition from local residents and environmentalists. The government said it also is investing in a solar panel factory and renovation of a luxury hotel on the island of Crete.

Greek leaders are in the midst of contentious negotiations with the country's international lenders over the creditors' demand that the country impose a new round of austerity measures. The lenders are demanding the spending cuts before they will agree to release another segment of bailout funds for Greece.

The austerity measures have sparked frequent street protests, some of them violent, from Greeks angered at the lenders' demands and the country's beleaguered economy.