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Transportation economic development grants to create or retain 665 jobs in four Michigan counties

Contact: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications 517-335-3084
Agency: Transportation

May 17, 2012 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced the awarding of state transportation economic development grants that will help create or retain 665 jobs in four Michigan counties. Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) grants totaling $4.9 million will leverage $570,534,000 in private investment at a private/public investment ratio of 116-to-1.

"Transportation plays a key role in reinventing Michigan," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "This is another example of inter-agency collaboration as MDOT teamed with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to make these projects possible."

APPROVED PROJECTS BY COUNTY

Ingham County
Gestamp Mason, LLC, invented and developed press-hardening technology. With this technology, Gestamp can offer the automotive industry unique ways of building lighter, stronger designs that allow reduced vehicle weights to achieve lower fuel consumption. The company, expecting to increase 2013 sales approximately 144 percent from 2011 levels, is adding floor space to provide additional manufacturing capacity. It expects to invest $38,034,000 in the facility and create 110 new jobs.

The company is based in Mason primarily to be close to its customer base and is located on Kipp Road, near US-127. Continued all-season access to US-127 is critical to meeting the demands of its customers.

The surface of Kipp Road is showing signs of deterioration, including substantial rutting and cracking. The Ingham County Road Commission plans to mill and resurface the roadway between Dexter Trail and US-127, and add 2-foot paved shoulders on the section east of Barnes Road. The proposed work will assure continued access to the Mason facility for both commercial and employee traffic. Construction is planned for the 2013 or 2014 construction seasons.

The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $1,122,786, including $400,000 in state TEDF funds and $722,786 in local matching funds.

Kent County
Lacks Enterprises, Inc., a leading supplier of components to the global automotive market, plans to locate a new plating facility in Cascade Township between 60th and 52nd Streets on Kraft Avenue. The new facility will manufacture chrome-plated plastic parts for the automotive and appliance industries. The company will invest $30 million at the new location and create 120 full-time jobs. Lacks chose Michigan over competing sites in Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia. Had the company chosen to expand elsewhere, 139 existing jobs would have been transferred out of state.

During the decision process, the ability to access the Kraft Avenue site was identified as a barrier. Kraft Avenue is in poor condition from 60th Street to 52nd Street. The portion from 60th Street to a half-mile north is not constructed to all-season standards. The other section is in need of repair. These deficiencies could limit the company's ability to ship products and receive freight. The Kent County Road Commission plans to reconstruct the southern portion of the roadway and repair the northern half-mile. In addition, a left-turn lane will be added at entrances to the plant to increase capacity and enhance safety. Construction is planned for 2013.

The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $985,053, including $380,852 in state TEDF funds, $442,312 in federal surface transportation funding, $120,162 from the Kent County Road Commission, and $41,727 from Lacks Enterprises.

Marquette County
Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. is the owner, developer and future operator of the Eagle Mine in Michigamme Township. Nickel and copper will be the primary minerals extracted from the Eagle Mine. To process and separate the nickel and copper, Kennecott is refurbishing the now closed Humboldt Mill. The mill is located on County Road (CR) 601 in Humboldt Township. After initial processing at the mill, the product will be shipped by rail for smelting and further refinement. The nickel and copper ore produced by the Eagle Mine and processed at the Humboldt Mill requires a route built to carry heavy commercial traffic year-round. Access to the mine is via Triple A Road, which is not constructed to all-season standards. Access to the mill is via M-95 and CR 601, south of US-41. Kennecott will invest a total of $500 million at the mine and mill, creating 236 new jobs.

To meet traffic needs, Triple A Road will be reconstructed and paved to meet all-season standards. Horizontal and vertical alignment and drainage improvements also will be made. The improvements will extend the life span of the roadway and accommodate increased employee and commercial traffic.

Because the proposed improvements will generate a significant amount of employee and commercial traffic between the two facilities, M-95 will be widened at CR 601. A center left-turn lane will be added to accommodate southbound M-95 traffic turning onto eastbound CR 601, as well as to improve motorist safety at this intersection.

CR 601, which provides direct access to the Humboldt Mill, is a narrow road not built to current all-season standards. It will be widened and reconstructed. In addition, a steep hill will be flattened, and two sharp curves will be realigned to improve traffic safety and allow year-round access.

The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $3,297,098, including $2,637,678 in state TEDF funds and $659,420 from Kennecott Eagle Minerals.

Presque Isle County
Moran Iron Works manufactures finished products for a global market that are typically too large to ship under standard utility lines. Specializing in one-of-a-kind industrial fabrication and conversion, the company produces large custom welding products that require a high-wire corridor for shipment.

A high-wire corridor was created more than 10 years ago between Moran Iron Works outside of Onaway and the deep water port in Rogers City. The company chose to invest $2.5 million to expand and add 60 new positions by 2015, in part due to the location of the high-wire corridor. However, several roads on the corridor have deteriorated over time and are now subject to seasonal weight restrictions. To assure future access to the port, three roads will be reconstructed to all-season condition: CR 638 from M-33 to Glasier Road, Glasier Road from CR 638 to M-68, and Petersville Road from Heythaler Road to US-23.

The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $1,948,184, including $1,484,272 in state TEDF funds and $463,912 from the Presque Isle County Road Commission.

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF was created to provide funding for highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan that will create or support jobs. The TEDF "Category A," or "Target Industries Program," provides state funding for transportation improvements that will help accommodate increased traffic and provide commercial routes that are safe and more efficient for new and expanding companies.

Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. "The road improvements funded with these grants will encourage major companies to invest in our state, creating jobs and contributing to increased economic development across both peninsulas," Steudle said.

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