Mayor Wants Answer On Carbon Motors Loan

Secretary Chu Declines To Comment On Loan

The mayor of Connersville is demanding answers about a $335 million loan from the Department of Energy that's critical to bringing hundreds of jobs to the city.

Nearly three years ago, high-tech police car manufacturer Carbon Motors applied for the loan to build energy-efficient vehicles in a re-purposed Connersville factory, eventually creating 800 jobs.

The company said it has shopped the police vehicle around to 48 states and already has 18,000 reservations. But without the loan, the project is in limbo.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was in Indianapolis on Monday, but he wouldn't specifically talk about the Carbon Motors loan, RTV6's Derrik Thomas reported.

"We still support the program. We want to move forward on that, but we still have a responsibility to taxpayers," he said. "We need to makes sure there is a reasonable chance of repayment."

Connersville's mayor wants a definitive answer about the loan.

"I would tell Secretary Chu we deserve that. We have put millions into it ourselves, and 33 months of our time," said Mayor Leonard Urban. "We are picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and trying to make our unemployment better, just like the president says we're supposed to."

Connersville residents said Carbon Motors gives them hope.

"We need it badly, very badly. Unemployment rate is too high," said Jill Isaac.

"We really, really need it because the economy is so slow down here. We need work," Juanita Young said.

Urban said he is trying to schedule a face-to-face meeting with Chu in the next two weeks. He said the people of Fayette County have a right to know what's next.

Carbon Motors did not return calls for comment Monday.

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