Friday, August 07, 2009

$40 Million in Recovery funds come to our area

Pictured from left to right: Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric; Congressman Cleaver; Mike Chesser, CEO of KCP&L; Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

I was very proud to be on hand with Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as two Kansas City vehicle-manufacturing plants received money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the production of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Smith Electric, a company which I was pleased to help to get into Kansas City just last year, won a $10 million grant to help produce electric vans, pickups and the company’s Newton medium-duty trucks. Kokam America Inc., a great battery-manufacturing company Senator Bond and I worked to locate in Lee’s Summit won $161 million for its Michigan plant. I think both announcements bode well for the Lee’s Summit plant’s bid for a significant Recovery Act grant to be announced later this year.

The men and women who make Ford trucks at the Claycomo Plant received part of a $30 million grant to produce hybrid vehicles in Kansas City.

The funds were announced as part of $2.4 billion in U.S. Department of Energy grants for the manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles, batteries and components. Forty-eight projects won the competitive grants. The President and Vice President and four cabinet secretaries, fanned out across the nation to make the awards.

I am also pleased to say that our local utility, Kansas City Power and Light was on hand to announce that KCP&L has committed to buy three Smith Electric vehicles, two of which will be transformed into bucket trucks. Mike Chesser, CEO of KCP&L has also committed to put recharging stations for those trucks and future electric vehicles in the Green Impact Zone.

It is starting to happen, my friends, we are taking substantial steps toward transforming our local economy and leveraging green initiatives to help our environment and put people back to work. Congratulations to Smith, Kokam, Ford and KCP&L.