Carbon Motors To Obama Cabinet: Approve Our Loan Now

Plans For New Jobs Announced In 2009

The company that wants to use a Connersville factory to build a high-tech police vehicle has issued a new plea to the Obama administration, urging fast approval of a federal loan needed to start the work.

The open letter from William Santana Li, president and CEO of Carbon Motors, was sent last week to several members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

In the letter, Li urged the heads of eight federal agencies to approve a $300 million loan to Carbon Motors to allow work on the police vehicles to begin.

The loan would be part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which provides direct loans to companies to “support the development of advanced technology vehicles and associated components in the United States.”

Carbon Motors applied for the loan program more than two years ago and has yet to receive final approval.

In the letter, Li cited several potential benefits from the Carbon Motors project, including helping cut greenhouse gas emissions from police vehicles by 40 percent, a homeland security vehicle to help detect roving weapons of mass destruction and the creation of more than 10,000 new American jobs

Carbon Motors announced in 2009 that it planned to use the former Visteon facility in Connersville to build new, state-of-the-art police vehicles, and hire an estimated 1,500 people for the plant.

The company has said it has received orders for thousands of the specially-designed vehicles.

Stacy Dean Stephens with Carbon Motors said getting the project off the ground has taken longer than expected.

"I don't think anybody thought it would take as long as it has. But again, we're extremely proud of the fact that they have taken the time to really understand and thoroughly get through exactly what they needed to in their due diligence," Stephens said.

A representative of the Department of Labor visited the Connersville site earlier this month.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said waiting for federal approval is just part of the process.

"Looking back, one could wish that their business model, their business plan, did not involve relying on the federal government for part of it. But, because we've all learned when you do, you may wait forever. Or, you may have needless complications and red tape," he said.

Daniels also said he believed that the project could have gotten approved without the federal loan, but that it's probably too late to restructure the deal from scratch.

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