Four Michigan counties will receive state transportation economic development grants that will support the creation or retention of 563 jobs, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently announced. Two of the projects will directly impact food and agriculture industries.
Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grants totaling $2,449,293 will leverage $102,600,000 in private investment at a private/public ratio of 42-to-1. Private developers, cities, villages, and counties will provide $897,253 in matching funds (27%) for the projects.
"This program represents a successful partnership between MDOT, local units of government and county road commissions that is focused on attracting major companies to invest and expand in Michigan and create employment opportunities for Michigan workers," says State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle
Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF was created to fund highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan that will create or support jobs. The TEDF "Category A," or "Target Industries Program," provides state funding for transportation improvements that will help accommodate increased traffic and provide commercial routes that are safe and more efficient for new and expanding companies. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.michigan.gov/tedf.
The improvements will be made in Ionia, Monroe, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. The two projects centered on agriculture include:
Cargill Kitchen Solutions, formerly Sunny Fresh Foods, is a leading producer of processed egg products in the United States. With plants in Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan, its customers include premier quick-service restaurant chains as well as food manufacturers. Cargill plans to invest more than $10 million to increase capacity at its Lake Odessa facility in Odessa Township and create 28 new jobs. The company considered expanding at one of its four other plants, but preferred the Lake Odessa location, provided access to the site was improved.
The Lake Odessa processing plant is located at the corner of Bonanza Road and Jordan Lake Road, with truck and employee access on Bonanza Road. The proposed project will widen Jordan Lake Road at the plant's new dedicated freight entrance and create bypass and deceleration lanes for more direct and safer access. In addition, Jordan Lake Road will be resurfaced from Bonanza Road to Henderson Road to ensure that it continues to operate as a commercial route for years to come. These improvements will provide Cargill with the infrastructure necessary to meet its long-term growth strategies and increase safety on both Bonanza and Jordan Lake roads.
The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $624,493, including $405,233 in state TEDF funds and $219,260 in local match from the company and the Ionia County Road Commission.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a leading milk marketing cooperative serving nearly 13,000 members throughout the country, also processes dairy foods with investments in established, well-known brands such as Borden Cheese. DFA is investing $40 million in a new 33,000-square-foot processing plant in Cass City that will be able to process 3 million pounds of fresh milk each day, supplied by DFA member farms located in Michigan's Thumb area. In addition to creating 25 full-time positions at the new facility, increased employment opportunities are expected to occur on member farms and in agriculture support industries.
The Cass City site was chosen over others for its access to suppliers, shortened delivery times, and Class A roadway. The new processing plant will be located in the Cass City Industrial Park off Doerr Road. Heavy traffic has caused the road to deteriorate and the road surface to be in poor condition. Increased traffic generated by the new plant will accelerate this deterioration. To ensure continued access and enable full truckloads during frost laws, the village of Cass City will mill and resurface Doerr Road from Division Street to M-81. Additionally, the intersection of Doerr Road and M-81 will be widened to accommodate an increase in truck traffic. The estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $549,965, including $439,972 in state TEDF funds, and $109,993 in local match from the village.