Bill funding Vermont transportation needs clears House, sent to PresidentWashington, D.C. Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL) supported and the House passed HR 6532, the Highway Trust Fund Restoration Act, to address a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and restore more than $8 billion in federal funding for states.The bill, which has cleared the Senate and will now be sent to the president for his signature, restores over $47 million in federal transportation funding for Vermont’s roads and bridges.”Our roads and bridges in Vermont and across the country are falling into disrepair. It is simply unacceptable to continue to neglect the up-keep and safety of our transportation system,” said Welch. “The federal government needs to be a partner in supporting states in meeting our pressing infrastructure needs.”In FY2008, federal Trust Fund spending for Vermont is $161,725,931. Without action by Congress, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that Vermont’s funding will be cut to $114,413,876 for FY2009.The legislation prevents this $47,312,055 cut to Vermont transportation projects.In 1998, in response to concerns that the Highway Account’s $16.5 billion balance was too large, Congress transferred more than $8 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund.In the face of major Highway Trust Fund shortfalls in 2009 and beyond, H.R. 6532 restores $8.017 billion in highway-user taxes to the Highway Trust Fund that were originally transferred in 1998.# # #
A growing number of FTSE companies are shifting the design in their defined contribution (DC) default investment funds towards more active management, a study has shown.Research from Towers Watson, into the DC offerings of some of the UK’s largest firms, found more schemes including diversified growth funds (DGF) while reducing passive investments.Over the last five years, the proportion of FTSE 100 schemes using a DGF in their default fund rose from around 10% to 70%.Of the 54% of trust-based schemes, the average allocation to purely passive investments fell by 22 percentage points to 40% over the last year. Over the same period, purely active allocations rose 5 percentage points to 17% with mixed allocations jumping to account for 43%, up from 26%.In DC contract schemes, a similar shift occurred with passive investments falling from an average allocation of 88% to 64% over the year, however, still accounting for the majority.Towers Watson said the mixed portfolios typically included an actively managed DGF.“Increased use of active management need not reflect increased ‘stock picking’,” the report said, “instead, an active manager may be overseeing how funds are distributed between asset classes and active management may be used in alternative asset classes.”Nico Aspinall, head of DC investment at Towers Watson, added: “The way you combine the assets makes the funds active, even if the underlying assets are passive.”“Some DGFs may have building blocks which are very cheap, but they add this small layer of additional fees, which is asset allocation.”Aspinall also said there was growing interest from DC schemes over smart beta investment strategies, but this has since been put on hold after the Budget, which may require and overhaul of investment strategies.The government recently announced a change in policy regarding the purchase of annuities, which means investment strategies linked to annuity matching may require a re-design.The research said almost all default funds currently shifted investment strategy away from growth assets to less-risky assets on the retirement approach, allowing for a better match with annuities.Of the two variations to achieve this, lifestyle strategies and target-date funds (TDF), the former is the most popular, with only 3% of FTSE 100 firms using a TDF.The average switching period for lifestyle strategies, as in the length of time pre-retirement investments begin to de-risk, has also increased over time.Towers Watson said in 2004, majority of FTSE 100 schemes did this in five years or fewer before retirement.However, the 2014 survey showed that three-quarters of companies now do this over ten years or more.There had also been a recent increase in DC funds designing investment objectives according to providing a target level of income in retirement, based upon annuity rates.However, 90% of FTSE 350 firms did not follow this and had investment objectives based on returns, with majority of both trust and contract schemes looking to track, or outperform, a benchmark.Some 13% of trust schemes and 15% of contract had objectives linked to meeting an absolute return target, an objective closely related to the use of DGFs.Only 10% of trust schemes and 6% of contract schemes had objectives based on providing a target level of income.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (April 24) – Electric City Speedway has postponed its season-opening Montana Spring Roundup to next Friday and Saturday, May 2-3.IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds run for $500 to win and a minimum of $75 to start in their first appearances in Montana since the mid-1990s. An open practice starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 1. The Spring Roundup was originally scheduled for this weekend and no change was been made in race day times: Pit gates at Great Falls open at 5 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 6 p.m. Hot laps are at 7 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30 p.m. IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National, Larry Shaw Racing Western Region, Allstar Performance State and local track points will be awarded. Electric City has been designated a border track so drivers from the Dakotas and Saskatchewan can also make the trip to earn Belleville Motorsports North Central Region points.There is no entry fee and pit passes are $25. Grandstand admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students ages 12-17, and free for seniors 70 and over and kids 11 and under. More information about the Spring Roundup is available from promoter Dan Mann at 406 727-4884 and at the www.electriccityspeedway.com website.The event marks the start of the 61st continuous season of operation at Great Falls, a 3/10-mile high-banked clay oval.
Nevada state governor Brian Sandoval has signed a bill, dubbed Senate Bill 240, amending the pari-mutuel wagering rules and thus paving the way for esports wagering to be legal in Nevada. The bill is sponsored by Clark County Republican Sen. Becky Harris and has been signed into law by the governor, Sandoval, over the weekend. The Bill, which becomes effective on July 1st, will see pari-mutuel betting systems include competitive gaming. The bill sees “sporting events or other events” added to the “off-track pari-mutuel system” section of the Bill, which thus allows wagers. “Other events” has been added throughout to add to the likes of horse and dog races and general sporting events. Esports remains a buzz word in Las Vegas, with recent plans for the Luxor to house a multi-tiered dedicated esports arena, and Millennial having already opened a 15,000 square foot space in Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has already allowed esports wagers to be taken – but this bill effectively adopts the approach into legislation. William Hill has previously taken bets on events that have taken place in Vegas, including IEM and DreamHack and it looks as if the trend is set to continue. Nevada, of course, remains tightly regulated and whilst esports wagering may now be in the legislation those wishing to take wager on esports must still adhere to the strict guidelines outlined by the Nevada regulators. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Esports Integrity Coalition and this is another step that may assist Las Vegas in becoming an “esports hub”. Esports Insider says: The latest move from Nevada goes further to foster a safe environment for legal esports betting. As we, as an industry, still try to leave behind the dark past of skin betting it is vitally important that bodies such as the NGCB, the UKGC and ESIC continue their vigilant work against potential match-fixing and corruption. Esports in its current state arguably still resembles a target but creating a well regulated environment for those who wish to bet is undeniably integral.