Rhode Island Not Ready To Commit On America’s Cup

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America's Cup sailing race

US challenger BMW Oracle Racing (L) giant trimaran and Swiss defender Alinghi huge catamaran sail at the start of the opening race of the 33rd America’s Cup off Valencia’s coast on February 12, 2010 in Valencia, Spain. (Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island’s top economic development official says the state won’t be ready to commit to the America’s Cup until after a Dec. 31 deadline set by the team selecting the host city, potentially aiding San Francisco’s chances of landing the race.

But Keith Stokes says that should not prevent BMW Oracle from choosing Newport as the venue for the 2013 America’s Cup on a conditional basis.

Stokes said on Wednesday the state is a week or two away from an estimate on the cost of improving infrastructure at Newport’s Fort Adams State Park.

A spokesman for Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee said landing the cup is a top priority, but Chafee doesn’t want to commit until he knows the cost.

The Newport Chamber of Commerce predicts a $1.1 billion economic boost from the prestigious international sailing competition.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing Team won the 33rd America’s Cup on behalf of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club in February and gets to choose the host city for the next race.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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