News Story

Ford halts work at Marshall site, but state keeps spending

No pause in Michigan Strategic Fund’s $65M giveaway to embattled BlueOval Battery Park

Last month, Ford Motor Co. announced a pause at BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, a facility that would build batteries for electric vehicles. But other participants in the project are acting as if it will resume at some point.

The Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, a nonprofit that recently received $65 million in public funds for the site, announced Tuesday that two firms were chosen for water and wastewater improvements. The companies are Hoffman Brothers of Battle Creek and Granger Construction of Lansing, respectively.

“The City of Marshall will extend the municipal water supply and sanitary sewer utilities to serve BlueOval and future developments on the 1,900-acre site through a cooperative effort that includes MAEDA, the City of Marshall, Marshall Township, Emmett Township and the City of Battle Creek,” the alliance announced.

The day after Ford announced the pause, the board of the Michigan Strategic Fund granted $65 million to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance for infrastructure improvements at the site. While the Ford project is called BlueOval Battery Park, right now it’s known as the “MAJOR” campus: Marshall Area Jobs, Opportunities and Recreation.

Jim Durian, CEO of the Marshall alliance, told Michigan Capitol Confidential previously that he’s confident the project will resume after the United Auto Workers strike against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors ends. The UAW strike began on Sept. 15 and covers more than 30,000 autoworkers, including those at Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky, truck plant. Vehicles produced in Louisville drive $25 billion in annual revenue for the Dearborn automaker.

BlueOval Battery Park is a partnership between Ford and CATL, which Ford says is the world’s largest battery producer.

CATL is a Chinese company, which has prompted multiple letters from congressional committees to Ford CEO Jim Farley, questioning the details and national security implications of the partnership.

When Ford paused the project, it cited doubts about whether it could be competitive. BlueOval Battery Park is a $3.5 billion project in line for $1.7 billion in corporate welfare as well as other incentives and tax abatements.

Ford’s website still says that battery production will begin at the facility in 2026.

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.