Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and her administration are drafting new legislation that would set aside millions of dollars to help attract new manufacturing investment to the state – with General Motors the main target of this new economic development package.
According to The Detroit News, Whitmer’s office is determined to land one of General Motors’ two new battery manufacturing plants that it plans to build in the near future. With this effort, state officials are hoping to offset the effects of Ford’s decision to skip over its home state and build new electric vehicle and battery plants in Kentucky and Tennessee – investments that will total a sizable $11.4 billion.
State Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), who serves as the chairman of Michigan’s Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee, told The Detroit News that state lawmakers want to create a new “development fund” that would give it more financial pull when trying to court investment from corporations. “We need to send a message to the whole economic development world that you can’t keep us off your spreadsheet anymore as you’re looking for new developments,” Horn told the newspaper.
In November, General Motors President Mark Reuss said the automaker’s home state is “of course,” in the running to receive one of its two new battery plants, although the automaker isn’t expected to make an announcement for another six months or so. Reuss said building a battery plant in Michigan would help reduce transportation costs when sending batteries to its assembly plants in the state, which include the automaker’s new Factory Zero EV plant in Detroit-Hamtramck.
“If you look at where our plants are, our regular assembly plants for electric vehicles, there’s a big component of transportation of cells and packs to put into cars that are built in our assembly plants,” Reuss said. “So we’d like to lessen that transportation cost. We’ll look at all states and all places that are interested in having it there, though; we will do that from a due diligence standpoint.”
Some lawmakers signed non-disclosure agreements barring them from discussing the details of one potential manufacturing project that could benefit from the new legislation, The Detroit News reports. As such, more details of the Michigan economic development package are expected to be released at a later date.