Biden Admin Announces $1.7 Billion to Modernize Auto Manufacturing Facilities

Biden Admin Announces $1.7 Billion to Modernize Auto Manufacturing Facilities
Workers build a GM crossover SUV as it goes through the assembly line at the General Motors Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich., on March 10, 2010. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The federal government is spending $1.7 billion to modernize automobile manufacturing facilities, helping the industry compete with foreign subsidies and create and protect jobs.

As part of the Automotive Community Benefits Plan, the current administration will extend grants to 11 selected manufacturing plants in eight states, including in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, that have temporarily closed or were at risk of closing.

Federal funding, which will come from the Inflation Reduction Act, will be dedicated to retrofitting factories, installing equipment, and bolstering annual production.

Grant capital will also allow these at-risk facilities to convert to manufacturing electric vehicles and related components and a broad range of new-generation cars, such as fuel cell vehicles, hybrid cars, and high-growth vehicle drive trains.

Recipients of grant funding include some of the biggest names in the automotive industry, such as Fiat-Chrysler ($584 million), General Motors ($500 million), Harley Davidson ($89 million), and Volvo ($208.2 million).

These efforts are expected to save 15,000 jobs and create nearly 3,000 new positions, most of which are union jobs, in historic automotive communities.

“Building a clean energy economy can and should be a win-win for union autoworkers and automakers,” President Joe Biden said. “This investment will create thousands of good-paying, union manufacturing jobs and retain even more—from Lansing, Michigan to Fort Valley, Georgia—by helping auto companies retool, reboot, and rehire in the same factories and communities.”

According to top White House economist Lael Brainard, the $1.7 billion investment is projected to generate $3.9 billion in total economic value and ensure that the United States keeps its climate goals intact.

“We will not let our transition to clean energy be a zero-sum game where workers get left behind and where local plants close and move overseas,” Ms. Brainard said.

The latest announcement is a critical part of the administration’s efforts to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States and ensure that major automakers and suppliers can compete in today’s global marketplace, according to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“We’re giving the communities who built American cars for generations the chance to build the vehicles of the future, and we’re giving American manufacturing the chance to get off the sidelines and get better competition,” Ms. Granholm said in a press call.

A senior administration official said recipient companies must commit to a production schedule, milestones, and workforce training.

Over the past year, the White House has announced billions of dollars in funding opportunities, whether grants or loans, to construct electric vehicle charging networks, expand or retool manufacturing facilities, and replace polluting heavy-duty vehicles with zero-emission automobiles.

The funding will complement the White House’s $177 billion investment in EV and battery manufacturing, Ms. Granholm noted.

Auto Workers

President Biden has been courting auto workers since the weeks-long standoff between the United Auto Workers union and the Big Three automakers—Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Stellantis—in September 2023.

In January, the president received the endorsement of UAW President Shawn Fain, who applauded the incumbent for standing and speaking at a picket line in Michigan.

“He heard the call and he stood up and he showed up,” Mr. Fain said at an event. “This November, we can stand up and elect someone who stands with us and supports our cause, or we can elect someone who will divide us and fight us every step of the way. That’s what this choice is about.”

Former President Donald Trump said at a May rally in Ohio that the U.S. auto industry will suffer if he loses in November.

“It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said.

He pledged a 100 percent tariff on automobiles manufactured outside the United States, promising that the domestic auto manufacturing industry would be protected if he were elected to another term.

“We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those guys if I get elected,” the former president said.

From The Epoch Times