The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced the awarding of state transportation economic development grants that will help two manufacturing companies expand into west and southwest Michigan and bring 400 new jobs to the state. Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grants totaling $2,752,000 will leverage more than $23,000,000 in private investment at a private/public ratio of 8-to-1.
“The road improvements funded with these grants were important to the manufacturing companies’ decisions to locate their operations in Cass and Oceana counties,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “These companies are turning two formerly abandoned industrial buildings into a working steel foundry and die casting facility. MDOT is pleased to partner on projects that will improve roads, leverage private investment in local communities and result in much needed employment opportunities.”
APPROVED CATEGORY A PROJECTS BY COUNTY
Premier Tool and Die Cast Corporation (PTDCC) is a major supplier of aluminum and zinc die castings used in several industries, including automotive, electronics, appliance, military, lawn and garden, heavy truck, and agricultural. PTDCC chose the site of the former Inverness Castings Group facility in Dowagiac over sites in New York, Indiana and Ohio to support its planned expansion. PTDCC will invest $10 million in new equipment and building improvements and create 100 new jobs.
North Paul Street and West Prairie Ronde Street are part of Dowagiac’s designated truck route that bypasses downtown and accesses both M-51 (North Front Street) and M-62 (Spruce Street). As North Paul curves to the east, the roadway becomes West Prairie Ronde Street. These streets provide employee and truck access to the die cast facility located at the intersection of North Paul and Franklin streets. Heavy traffic on this route has caused it to deteriorate; the planned increased traffic generated by the company’s expansion would accelerate the deterioration.
To address this issue, the city will mill and resurface North Paul Street from the intersection of south M-51/west M-62, continuing the improvements as the road becomes West Prairie Ronde Street, to 300 feet east of North Lowe Street. These improvements will strengthen the structural integrity of the roadway and extend its life by 10 to 15 years. As part of the project, all existing sidewalk ramps will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $230,000, including $184,000 in state TEDF Category A funds and $46,000 from the city of Dowagiac.
Michigan Steel, Inc., headquartered in Muskegon, recently purchased the former Carlton Creek foundry. Michigan Steel plans to invest $13 million to convert the former iron foundry, which closed in 2008, into a steel foundry to manufacture steel castings for use in the construction, agricultural, natural resources and rail industries. The new facility will be known as Rothbury Steel, Inc. and will result in the creation of 300 new jobs.
Rothbury Steel is located on Winston Road in Rothbury, approximately 1.5 miles east of the interchange of Winston Road and US-31. All raw materials and finished products will be trucked to and from the facility via US-31 and Winston Road, which is in poor condition. Without intervention, the road will continue to deteriorate and become weight-restricted. In addition, the Winston Road bridge over US-31 is in need of a major overhaul to accommodate heavy shipments. To address these issues, the village and road commission plan to reconstruct Winston Road from just east of the new facility to the southbound on ramp at US-31. The MDOT Grand Region also plans to reconstruct the Winston Road bridge over US-31, with construction planned for 2012 or 2013.
The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $4,200,700, including $2,568,000 in state TEDF Category A funds, $50,000 in state TEDF Category D funds, $185,500 from the village of Rothbury, $90,000 from Grant Township, $49,200 from the Oceana County Road Commission, $200,000 in federal Surface Transportation Program rural funds, and $1,058,000 from the MDOT Grand Region.
Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF was created to provide funding for highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan that will create or support jobs.
Source: News release from Michigan Department of Transportation