JobsOhio backs Honda plant with $237M

JobsOhio, the state’s privatized economic development office, has finalized an agreement with Honda to infuse another $237 million into development of a massive battery plant project in Fayette County that the Japanese automaker plans to use to transform the state into its North American electric vehicle hub.

JobsOhio posted details of the package of three grants last week. They include a $140 million economic development grant for the plant Honda is building jointly with LG Energy Solution of South Korea, a $10 million workforce grant for the project itself and $87 million to retool Honda’s existing facilities.

The factory will be located at the Fayette County megasite at Interstate 71/U.S. Route 435.

The money, payable over the next 10 years, comes on top of the approximately $156.3 million in tax incentives and infrastructure improvements from the state of Ohio, which has begun to position itself as a regional epicenter of leading-edge technology.

Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger dubbed it the “Silicon Heartland” in a tweet last year, after his company announced its plans to invest $20 billion to build a new chip factory outside Columbus. And in his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called that project “literally a field of dreams.” He said it will provide high-paying jobs, attract related companies to the region and bring the critical chip manufacturing industry back to U.S. soil.

The Intel project is the largest direct private investment in Ohio’s history. The Honda-LG project is the largest foreign investment, an extension of Honda’s 45 years of operating in the state.

Construction on the Honda plant is set to begin early this year, with anticipated completion set for the end of 2024. Mass production of battery modules is expected to begin by the end of 2025.

Honda and LG have agreed to create 2,527 new jobs and more than $140 million in new payroll, including 2,200 jobs through the Honda-LGES battery plant and 327 through Honda’s retooling. Honda has said it is investing $700 million and adding 300 jobs at three of its own Ohio factories to prepare them to start making EVs and components.

Honda and LG have committed at least $4.2 billion in capital investment to the two efforts. JobsOhio said that amounts to $17.72 for every $1 it is investing.