News Story

Despite Ford ‘pause,’ board approves $65M for Marshall site

BlueOval Battery Park could have received as much as $270M of $1.7B in corporate welfare already

A day after Ford Motor Co. paused construction on BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $65 million grant for the site.

The various grants and cash giveaways of taxpayer money to the $3.5 billion project amount to about $1.7 billion. If the Ford pause never restarts, Michigan taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook for the whole thing. But as much as $270 million in taxpayer funds might have been paid out already, according to James Hohman, the Mackinac Center’s director of fiscal policy.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation granted $120 million to the Marshall Area Economic Development Association for land acquisition. Half of the money was available immediately “because they just needed to show that they had an agreement with the company,” Hohman said.

That’s $60 million.

There were also two grants worth up to $105 million each, or another $210 million. The first is dependent on hitting spending targets, the second, on hitting site-preparation goals.

The new $65 million grant will come from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s strategic site readiness program.

“It comes on top of $750 million the state previously allotted to prep the site for the Dearborn-based automaker's plant — $400 million to MAEDA and $300 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation,” reported David Eggert of Crain’s Detroit Business.

Ford itself was granted $630 million in the 2024 Michigan budget.

The $65 million will be granted to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance for “land acquisition, site studies and preparation, water and wastewater upgrades, road enhancements, professional fees, administration and other necessary public infrastructure improvements.”

Why would the Marshall alliance need $65 million to ready a site where construction is paused? People close to the project are optimistic that the pause is just that, and that work will someday resume.

“We fully expect that Ford will continue to develop (the) BlueOval Battery Park Michigan site and we need to allow the Ford Motor Co. and UAW to continue their negotiations,” Quentin Messer Jr, chairman of the strategic fund and head of the MEDC, told the board Tuesday.

A call to the Marshall Area Economic Development Association went unreturned.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.