June 30, 2020 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a state transportation economic development grant to the City of Detroit that will support 4,950 new jobs on the city's east side. The grant will help fund infrastructure improvements related to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) new and expanded production facilities in the city of Detroit announced last year.
FCA is converting its Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the future assembly site for the next-generation Jeep® Grand Cherokee and an all-new, three-row full-size Jeep SUV, along with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. The project will generate a total investment of $1.6 billion and create 3,850 new FCA jobs in Detroit. The new facility will be the first new assembly plant to be built within Detroit's city limits in nearly three decades.
FCA will also invest $900 million in its Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP), also in Detroit, to retool and modernize it for continued production of the Dodge Durango and next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, creating an additional 1,100 new FCA jobs in the city.
Combined, these investments total more than $2,500,000,000, which will be supported by a Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant of $2,817,000, at a private/public investment ratio of more than 887-to-1.
FCA, headquartered in Auburn Hills, is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles family of companies. FCA analyzed future industrial production plans at its existing locations in Michigan, Illinois, and Mexico. The company decided to locate its manufacturing facilities here in Michigan at a re-tooled Jefferson North Assembly Plant and at a new facility at the location of its former Mack Avenue engine plant.
The anticipated increase of commercial and employee traffic on Conner Street relating to these investments, if left unaddressed, would have led to transportation and logistical delays. In addition to inadequate road capacity, the current bike lanes on both sides of Conner Street from Jefferson Avenue to I-94 would create conflicts with the increased truck and employee traffic. Also, poor pavement conditions would have impacted long-term access to the facilities.
To increase road capacity, lanes will be added through a combination of lane reconfiguration and widening for portions of the route. To increase safety and limit the possibility of conflicts between bicyclists and FCA traffic, the City of Detroit will reconfigure the bike lanes to the east side of Conner Street. The city will resurface portions of the roads and perform concrete repair work. The project also includes new bus stops and turnouts. The City's commitment to addressing these issues was a significant factor in FCA choosing Detroit for these investments.
"FCA appreciates the coordination of efforts between the City of Detroit and MDOT to secure funding for local road improvements that will support the addition of 5,000 new jobs at our Mack and Jefferson North Assembly plants," said Marc Brazeau, head of Logistics - North America, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. "We are equally pleased that these improvements will benefit local residents and businesses, as accommodations will be made for bicyclists and pedestrian access to local core services and recreational facilities."
"Michigan is the undisputed automotive capital of the world. I am pleased that FCA chose the Motor City for major investments in these two plants and that we were able to work with the City of Detroit to support the associated infrastructure improvements," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Transportation investments support economic opportunity. As a state, we must invest more in our roads so that employees have safe routes to work and companies have unimpeded access to markets."
The total project cost is $3,912,498, including $2,817,000 in TEDF Category A funding and $1,095,498 (28 percent) from the City of Detroit.
Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers.
TEDF "Category A" or "Targeted Industries Program" grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.Michigan.gov/TEDF.