Groups highlight infrastructure needs before Biden visit to Ford plant

May 18, 2021 at 8:43 am
click to enlarge A woman working at Ford's Dearborn truck plant. - Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
A woman working at Ford's Dearborn truck plant.

As President Joe Biden visits the new Ford F-150 "Lightning" manufacturing plant in Dearborn today, business leaders in the Great Lakes State are spotlighting the importance of electrification and the infrastructure behind it.

Ned Staebler, CEO of TechTown Detroit, said as more auto manufacturers like Ford electrify popular and affordable vehicles, Michigan will continue to lead the transition away from internal-combustion vehicles.

He noted investing in supporting infrastructure is also key.

"The number one fear that people have about electric vehicles is range anxiety, so continuing to invest in charging infrastructure is incredibly important," Staebler asserted.

He added Biden's American Jobs Plan would revitalize manufacturing and create more jobs in the clean-energy economy.

Michigan has more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs, accounting for roughly 19% of the state's total output.

Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward, noted the Jobs Plan is a key climate solution, which will help avoid the most catastrophic impacts from climate change and extreme weather events that cause production delays and interruptions in the supply chain. He added it's also an economic-development plan.

"There's a remarkable overlap in Michigan, because the counties with strong renewable energy resources, mainly wind, happen to be the ones that need economic development most," Doyle explained. "Renewables offer Michigan good jobs where we need them."

Doyle pointed out Michigan currently imports about $24 billion worth of coal, gas and oil each year, which means installing wind, solar, and other renewables here in Michigan represents a $24 billion "buy local" opportunity.

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