Hurdles Still Remain For Carbon Motors Plant

Cleanup, Ownership, Financing In Question

The prospect of a major new employer promising 1,530 new jobs has the residents of Connersville excited, but the state admits there are some major hurdles for the Carbon Motor project.

State officials pledged to work with the high-tech police car manufacturer to navigate environmental cleanup, building ownership and financing issues, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob said it is expected to take $3.5 million to $4 million to clean up pollution left at the former Visteon factory that Carbon Motors plans to occupy.

"There are hydrocarbons in the soil, not uncommon in Indiana in other industrial buildings that have been around for a number of years, as that building has been," he said.

The bankruptcy of Visteon, which was formerly owned by Ford, could also complicate gaining ownership of the plant itself. Roob said the state anticipates getting the title in 40 to 60 days, but wants to keep Ford on the hook to help pay for the environmental cleanup.

As for financing, Carbon Motors said it will apply for $250 million from the federal government's Advanced Technology Vehicles program, while raising $100 million from the private market.

University of Indianapolis finance professor Matt Will said the 10,000 advance orders for the high-tech police cars will make this attractive to investors, but he said they may also be wary of dealing with Washington as a partner after what happened to Chrysler's investors.

State officials would not divulge just how much Indiana will contribute in incentives for the company, but Roob said it would be less than the $85 million Honda received when building its Greensburg plant.