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What the newly-announced Ford battery plant means for the state of Kentucky

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:48 PM EDT
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HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Ford is adding 5,000 jobs for an electric vehicle battery manufacturing complex in Glendale. It’s the single largest economic development project in Kentucky history.

Though it’s going up in Hardin County, it’s a project that can certainly benefit Kentucky as a whole.

Ford is already the top manufacturing company in Kentucky. After this expansion, Ford will employ more than 18,000 workers. The next largest is Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Scott County with nearly 10,000 employees.

GM has about 1,400 employees at the Bowling Green assembly plant.

“Our time is here. Our future is now,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

It’s all part of an $11.4 billion investment in Kentucky and Tennessee that will in total create 11,000 jobs.

“Along with our partners at Ford, and SK Innovation, we are going to lead the country, if not the world, in the electric vehicle battery market,” Beshear said.

Though the development will be an hour and a half outside of Lexington, a rising tide lifts all boats, and economic experts believe Kentucky as a whole will benefit.

“It could potentially put pressure on wages, if they pay higher wages…” University of Kentucky economics professor Dr. Kenneth Troske said. “It depends on what you think on tax revenue. Presumably this company is going to be paying additional taxes. You could use that taxes to help fix the pension problem.”

Dr. Troske said other benefits with the project include training for a skilled workforce, which in turn could attract other companies to Kentucky, but also addresses where the state is lagging.

“There’s still things that are confronting us. We still have fairly low income, low skills, low education attainment, low average income.. This helps but we got other things to do,” Dr. Troske said.

You may recall during the special session, the General Assembly passed a bill that allocated $400 million to what at the time was referred to as a “potential project in Hardin County.”

The bill uses the money to offer forgivable loans for economic development. Lawmakers said then that Hardin County isn’t the only place that would benefit, saying there could be more than one significant development.

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