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With Ohio state grants in hand, Intel waiting to hear about federal money

President Joe Biden at Intel groundbreaking ceremony in Licking County on September 9, 2022.
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
President Joe Biden at Intel groundbreaking ceremony in Licking County on September 9, 2022.

The state of Ohio has already disbursed $600 million in onshoring grants to Intel, which is in the process of constructing sizeable computer chip fabrication plants in Licking County—a pledged $20 billion investment when it’s done.

The tech giant is counting on another stream of funding, however, to see the project through: potential money from the CHIPS and Science Act. Intel has submitted an application for CHIPS funding, and more than a dozen members of Congress from Ohio are now urging the federal government to select Intel as part of the program.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and 13 of the 15 members of Ohio's delegation in the U.S. House signed onto a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce asking that it review Intel’s application “without undue delay.”

“We believe that this project embodies what Congress and this administration had in mind when we passed and the president signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law,” the letter reads.

Ohio is in it for the long haul on the project, Brown said. The first plant doesn’t come online for at least another year, in early 2025.

“It's a long process,” Brown said in an interview. “It's a complicated thing, with very smart people figuring this out, with thousands of Ohioans being trained now to be ironworkers, to be pipefitters, to work in a computer manufacturing company.”

Locking down federal funding is just one rung on the ladder.

“I'm not sounding an alarm that there are going to be delays—I'm just anticipating that we need to make sure this is a smooth, as rapid as possible, bunch of steps to get this plant up and running,” Brown said.

An Intel spokesperson said the chipmaker is “grateful for the tremendous support from Ohio’s congressional delegation.”

“Intel is committed to transforming Ohio into the Silicon Heartland by expanding our domestic chipmaking capacity and capabilities, creating thousands of new jobs, and developing the necessary talent pipelines,” the spokesperson wrote in an email statement.

Intel believes it will be notified of whether it is receiving CHIPS Act funding by early 2024, she said.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at sdonaldson@statehousenews.org.