LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky has yet to grant financial incentives for Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation to build two battery plants in Hardin County. But Gov. Andy Beshear’s office says the deal could involve more than $285 million in state aid.
Based on the projected size of the investment and job goals, it’s expected that the companies will apply for a forgivable loan of up to $250 million and as much as $36 million in workforce training funds, along with ownership of the 1,551-acre, state-owned site, Beshear spokeswoman Crystal Staley said.
The project also would benefit from planned highway work, she noted, such as a $15 million reconstruction of the Interstate 65 interchange with Ky. 222 near Glendale. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to seek bids for construction later this year.
Ford announced Monday a proposed $5.8 billion investment in new plants near Glendale, creating 5,000 full-time jobs as part of a broader commitment to electric vehicles. The Kentucky factories are part of a venture with South Korean-based SK Innovation to supply batteries for electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Beshear, a Democrat, and his administration shepherded a bill through the Republican-controlled General Assembly that allowed up-front state loans of $350 million for companies that invest at least $2 billion in the state. The measure passed with overwhelming support from both parties.
The loans would be forgiven if 90 percent of job and wage goals are met. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority would have to approve any loan for Ford; the board holds its monthly meeting Thursday in Frankfort.
The legislation also sets aside $25 million to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to build an on-site training center in Glendale. Staley said the workforce training incentives – up to $36 million – also would include funds from the college system’s TRAINS program, which provides customized training for potential and current workers, and a state program that reimburses employers for skills training.
This story may be updated.
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