AASHTO Journal, 28 August 2015
The Michigan Department of Transportation issued five economic development grants this month totaling more than $2.26 million, which will also leverage local road funding and millions more in corporate investments.
The agency, which unveiled the awards in separate announcements Aug. 6, made the grants out of its Transportation Economic Development Fund, which can help state, county and city road agencies with immediate highway needs that relate to such needs as providing infrastructure to support factory expansions.
Its largest grant this month was for nearly $1.12 million the department said will support creation of 233 new jobs in Port Huron. That grant will go toward $1.4 million in road upgrades, with the St. Clair County Road Commission and city of Port Huron making up the difference.
The work is linked to a $13.55 million plan by an automotive interiors and trim supplier to buy and renovate an existing building in an industrial park, improving a roadway the plant’s trucks will use to reach Interstate 94.
A TEDF grant of $548,255 will support 40 new jobs in Van Buren County, the agency said, by upgrading a road for all-season standards and increased truck traffic to support a $2.4 million expansion by a food processor. The county’s road commission and Keeler Township are contributing to the road project valued at $825,631.
MDOT is sending a $300,000 TEDF grant to help fund road work for two businesses in Alpena County. The city of Alpena is covering most of the cost of the $710,000 project that will build a new all-season road for truck traffic serving a microbrewery and stone materials shipper.
The agency said a $164,000 state grant would pay for 80 percent of a road project that supports a $22 million expansion by an auto parts supplier in Livonia, with that company paying the other 20 percent. The company, MDOT said, had considered moving its operations into Ontario before opting for the Livonia expansion.
Similarly, a $137,000 TEDF grant that is partly matched by the Keweenaw County Road Commission will pay for road work that supports a manufacturer that also thought about relocating out of Michigan. The maker of a polymer rebar used in concrete needed a larger facility, and bought a building in a $1.58 million investment, but needed the road improved for all-season truck shipments.