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State board approves remainder of site readiness incentives for Ford battery project

Person working on a Ford electric truck
Ford manufactures some of its electric vehicles at its River Rouge complex in Dearborn.

Michigan officials approved millions of dollars in incentives for some electric vehicle-related projects Tuesday. That’s as the state tries to become a center of electric vehicle and battery investments.

The largest amount was around $120 million toward site readiness for a Ford battery project in Calhoun County.

Tuesday’s approval of the request rounds out $750 million in total funds the state contributed to the Marshall Area Economic Development Authority and the Michigan Department of Transportation to get the site ready for the project.

Terri Fitzpatrick, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Executive Vice President in charge of site readiness, said the money will go toward water and other infrastructure improvements that will stretch beyond just the Ford project.

“The Marshall Megasite is approximately 1,900 acres total, and the Ford site within the Marshall site is about 950 acres. Roads and utility enhancement will benefit the Marshall site and area beyond the Ford Blue Oval site,” Fitzpatrick said during a Michigan Strategic Fund board meeting Tuesday.

Officials say the site has been in search of large-scale industrial use for years, but some community members are worried about having it nearby, citing concerns about the environment.

“The soil in this area is excellent. It has a lot of organic matter and not very much clay, which makes it excellent for farming but a very poor place to site an industrial manufacturing site,” Michigan State University Professor Emeritus Victoria McGuffin said during public comment.

The state has assured residents of the site’s fitness for the battery plant. Officials have said land between nearby railroad tracks and the Kalamazoo River is being set aside for conservation purposes.

Aside from the Marshall site, the strategic fund board also approved a $10 million grant request from semiconductor company AyDeeKay LLC to build out its presence in Auburn Hills.

Another EV-related project in Auburn Hills and nearby areas, from the company BorgWarner, received $1.86 million in grants Tuesday.

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