SC agreed to spend $1.3B to land Scout Motors EV project in Blythewood

March 6, 2023

The (South Carolina) State: SC agreed to spend $1.3B to land Scout Motors EV project in Blythewood

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“In order to attract a $2 billion electric vehicle plant to Blythewood, South Carolina agreed spend $1.3 billion to help the start-up Scout Motors provide 4,000 jobs in the Midlands. The $1.291 billion state incentive package includes building a railway bridge over Interstate 77 to the Blythewood industrial park site, building a new I-77 interchange to serve the eventual factory, additional road improvements, electrical work, water and sewer infrastructure, and stabilizing the soil on the site, state officials said Monday, three days after the landmark project was announced.”

The State talked to Good Jobs First about the ramifications of investing so much money into infrastructure for a project that may never materalized.

“That is a real risk when you’re taking that on,” Greg LeRoy, founder and director of Good Jobs First, a policy group that researches economic development subsidies, told The State. “Yes, obviously, better infrastructure can benefit other employers, other commuters. But if it’s put in there for one specific project that doesn’t materialize, then you the government have extended a lot of money in a way that’s not going to get a very good payoff. That’s a real risk.”

As billion-dollar incentive deals for electric vehicles continue to pile up, LeRoy said states won’t be able to recoup the money they put in up front…

Given the existing federal subsidies, LeRoy said it doesn’t make sense for state governments to be “gold-plating” individual facilities, which he said don’t need the additional public help. He called the deals in Georgia and North Carolina “terrible precedents” for future EV manufacturing subsidies.

Read more at The State.