St. Joseph County positions itself as top contender for EV battery plant through tax incentives

NOW: St. Joseph County positions itself as top contender for EV battery plant through tax incentives

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- St. Joseph County successfully put itself in a position as an attractive contender for the fourth General Motors EV Battery manufacturing plant.

Tuesday night, in county council, a unanimous vote served as final approval for a tax abatement and a development plan.

It’s now up to Ultium LLC, the electric vehicle manufacturing company, to choose New Carlisle as its future home.

“This is a once-in a generation project,” said Andy Kostielney, former St. Joseph County Commissioner. “We’ll look back at this in 20 years and this will be kind of the launch point of unparalleled growth and development.”

A unanimous vote, giving full, final approval for a tax abatement and development plan for the joint venture between General Motors and LG.

The tax abatement is an incentive for Ultium LLC to choose Michiana as the site of its fourth plant.

“The capital investment in particular, 2,000 construction workers working out there over the next couple of years building the site. 1,600 permanent jobs on the other end of this,” Jeff Rea, President & CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber. “And an annual economic impact of about 650 million dollars to our overall community. It becomes a great taxpayer, great community partner.”

But many community concerns needed to be addressed first. These include monitoring the local aquifer and managing truck traffic. In a statement, Town Engineer Jared Huss shared the support from the Town of New Carlisle, saying their concerns had been adequately met.

But some community members are still protesting the project proposal, like New Carlisle resident Dan Caruso.

“I know there are a lot more than a few people who are questioning this development,” Caruso said. “The truck traffic is crazy right now, I can’t imagine what 150 to 200 more trucks a day is going to do to my commute to and from my home.”

Others think the possibility of bringing the plant to St. Joseph County is a win-win.

“We do want a company that’s going to buy renewable energy, which means we now have the justification to add more renewable energy resources,” said Shelley Klug, manager of economic and business development for American Electric Power. “We want clean cars, we want to do away with fossil fuels as much as possible. So, those require batteries.”

Frequently asked questions at the meeting can be found here.

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