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Sen. Portman Defends Loan Program That Could Help Reopen Lordstown Plant

In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, snow covers the perimeter of the General Motors' Lordstown plant, in Lordstown, Ohio.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, snow covers the perimeter of the General Motors' Lordstown plant, in Lordstown, Ohio.

The Trump administration wants to eliminate a loan program that could help an electric vehicle maker with its plan to reopen a General Motors factory in Ohio.

President Donald Trump's proposed budget, released Monday, calls for ending the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. The administration says it thinks the private sector should take the lead on new commercial projects.

Sen. Rob Portman says he supports the Energy Department loans, which could help Lordstown Motors Corp. in its efforts to reopen the GM factory to build electric pickup trucks. The company was seeking $200 million.

Portman says that Trump’s budget is not the final word.

“We’re looking for help to be able to ensure that we can get that plant up and going again, and I did support that," Portman said. "I will say that program has been in the budgets over time. In other words, (Trump) proposed in the past to cut it every year, and Congress has restored the funding. So, I continue to support the program, and we’ll see what happens.”

Lordstown Motors purchased the shuttered Lordstown factory from GM last year. Owner Steve Burns says he expects hired about 400 workers to begin.

Lordstown Motors plans to begin production of its electric pickup truck this fall.

Cleveland resident Shinia Williams began her career in journalism at Kent State University in 2017. Shinia is passionate about shedding light on stories of hardship and powerful leaders from her hometown. For the past two years she has been producing full multimedia packages, which cover community-oriented project and individuals that strive to make a difference.
With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.