Nov 5, 2013 3:19 PM by Brian White
TUCSON - The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday an additional $25,000 from its Contingency Fund to support the annual El Tour de Tucson.
The County has long provided funds for El Tour and had budgeted $26,063 for it this year. The action Tuesday brings the County's support to $51,063.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry explained to the Board that Perimeter Bicycling Association, the nonprofit organizer of El Tour, lost its title sponsor this year.
The event attracts 8,000 to 9,000 cyclists, he said, with at least half of them coming from outside of Pima County.
In a memo to the Board, Huckelberry said that "over 30,000 spectators are expected along the route."
"A 2009 post-event survey for El Tour showed an average of $706 spent per rider. El Tour's annual economic impact is estimated at almost $80 million."
Supervisor Ray Carroll, District 4, said support for El Tour "is an economic development issue that I take seriously."
Huckelberry also noted in his memo that "managing multiple routes and thousands of spectators and riders, while maintaining safe traffic flow along the 100-plus-mile route, is increasingly challenging and costly."
"Pima County and the City of Tucson, in response to a very serious car-bicycle accident in 2008, increased the level of traffic control required for the event.
The cost of the increased traffic control has significantly impacted El Tour's ability to fund the event."
Perimeter asked for an additional $25,000 from the County and from the City of Tucson. The City Council approved the additional funds, which nearly doubled its contribution to the event, last month.