DEARBORN, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – The Michigan Department of Transportation has awarded a state transportation economic development fund grant that will support more than 4,800 new and existing jobs at Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge Complex in Dearborn.

The Transportation Economic Development Fund Category A grant for bridge design totaling $3,500,000 will help leverage more than $695,000,000 in private investment, at a private/public investment ratio of nearly 199-to-1.

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Ford Motor Co. designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified, and luxury vehicles. The company also provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Co. and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles, and mobility solutions. Ford’s operations at its Rouge facilities have a $9.8 billion impact on the overall state economy and support 67,000 jobs statewide.

Ford currently employs 4,500 workers at the Dearborn Truck Plant that produces the F-150 truck. The plant is located southwest of the Miller Road/Rotunda Drive intersection. A detailed inspection in August 2017 identified severe deterioration in both the Miller Road and Rotunda Drive bridges over the Conrail and CN rail lines. Temporary supports were installed to allow the bridges to remain open to traffic without any weight restrictions. Ford is concerned that if the bridges are not replaced soon, they may end up being closed to traffic, greatly impacting Ford’s access to their facilities.

With assurances from Wayne County that the bridges will be replaced, Ford has announced its plans to produce a hybrid and full battery electric version of the F-150 truck at the Dearborn Truck Plant. Production of the new trucks will result in an additional 300 jobs at the Dearborn facility. Ford also manufacturers the F-150 at the Kansas City Truck Plant in Missouri. Any closure or weight restrictions on the Miller Road bridge could force Ford to reevaluate its commitment to continue building the F-150 truck at this Michigan site.

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“Ford greatly appreciates MDOT’s support to help replace the Miller Road bridge,” said Gabby Bruno, Ford Motor Co. regional government relations director. “This bridge has been deemed structurally deficient even though it serves as a critical thoroughfare for the thousands of Ford employees who rely on it to get to and from work safely.”

The overall cost of this project is $62,000,000, including $3,500,000 in TEDF Category A funding and $58,500,000 from the Wayne County Department of Public Services. The $3.5 million in TEDF funds will be used to design the new bridges now so that Wayne County can construct the bridges before the end of the design life of the temporary supports.

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers.

TEDF “Category A” or “Targeted Industries Program” grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages.

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