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General Motors investing $7 billion in Michigan facilities to build electric vehicles

General Motors headquarters in Detroit
Andrea_44 / Flickr - Http://J.Mp/1SPGCl0
General Motors headquarters in Detroit

General Motors formally announced Tuesday that it will invest $7 billion in Michigan facilities to build electric vehicles and batteries.

The moves were announced Tuesday in Lansing.

They will create up to 4,000 jobs and keep another 1,000 already employed at an underutilized assembly plant north of Detroit.

The automaker plans to spend up to $4 billion converting and expanding its Orion Township assembly factory to make electric pickups and $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion building a third U.S. battery cell plant with a joint-venture partner in Lansing.

GM CEO Mary Barra said the goal is to make the company the number one producer of electric vehicles.

“And we intend to bring our employees along with us through this transformation to that all-electric future. That includes thousands of employees right here in Michigan, who will help make our home state the epicenter of the electric vehicle industry.”

The announcement came shortly after a state board approved economic development incentives. Those incentives were adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to win facilities in metro Detroit and the Lansing area.

While the state of Michigan gave GM more than $824 million in incentives to expand in the state, state lawmakers are debating expanding incentives further to attract more corporate investment.

But in a legislative committee Tuesday, critics blasted giving such corporate incentives.

John Mozena is with the Center for Economic Accountability. He said a recent survey of business leaders ranked “incentives” ninth on a list of reasons for site selection for development.

“9th? That’s where you stash your worst hitter on a baseball lineup...not where you bet the state’s future.”

But economic development groups say hefty incentives are needed to compete with other states and countries.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.