Fed agrees to $9.2B loan for Ford projects in Kentucky, Tennessee

Published 4:01 pm Monday, July 3, 2023

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The U.S. Department of Energy has conditionally agreed to loan Ford Motor Co. up to $9.2 billion for the Blue Oval projects in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ford is partnering with SK On to build two plants costing $5.8 billion under construction in Glendale, Kentucky, along with an electric vehicle plant in Stanton, Tennessee.

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The $5.6 billion Tennessee plant, being built on a state-owned megasite in West Tennessee outside Memphis, received an $884 million incentive package from Tennessee already with costs expected to exceed $1 billion for the state.

The Kentucky plant will be on a 1,500-acre state-owned megasite in Glendale. More than 5,000 are expected to work at the plants, which are expected to produce enough battery power to fuel 2 million Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.

The Kentucky General Assembly approved $25 million for a new Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to train workers on the megasite.

The Ford loan remains conditional on terms that have not been made public.

“While this conditional commitment demonstrates DOE’s intent to finance the project, several steps remain for the project to reach critical milestones, and certain conditions must be satisfied before DOE issues a final loan,” a department statement said.

The loan was identified as furthering the Biden Administration’s Investing in America agenda along with the Justice40 Initiative, a goal of having 40% of the benefits of federal investments going to disadvantaged communities.

Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands, however, believes it is continued corporate welfare after Tennessee used a special session to create a large incentive for the company already.

“Which introduces the concern we should always have regarding this continued practice of corporate welfare and government interference in what should be free market affairs,” Humble wrote. “The public is being artificially pushed into a product that so far it does not want and has proven to carry a price tag exceeding the budget of what most Americans can afford. Yet, governments continue to subsidize the push to EVs and they are using our own money against us.”

Humble called it the most substantial federal investment in the automotive industry ever, larger than the $8 billion awarded through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.