Government officials caught a first-hand look at General Motors Baltimore Operations' planned expansion and use of new technology Wednesday morning.
Gov. Martin O'Malley said the plant, located along Philadelphia Road in White Marsh, represents a resurgence in American manufacturing.
"It's irrefutable evidence and it's a story that everybody gets and everybody understands," O'Malley told Patch. "The American auto industry, including GM, were in the tank a few years ago. Together as a country, we've been able to turn that around. Now GM is No. 1."
O'Malley said the corporation's turnaround would not have been possible without funding from state and federal government. "None of this would have happened of we had let GM go bankrupt," he said.
The facility's total new project investment comes to about $244 million. GM is investing about $129 million, the federal government is investing $105 million and county and state governments are contributing more than $10 million, according to company and government news releases.
Christian S. Johansson, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, said investments in manufacturing deliver a major benefit to local economies.
"Not all industries are created equal," Johansson said. "The impact is much more than the people who are working here. People are needed to supply these parts. If you have a law firm, that's great—you have high paying jobs, but you don't get the ripple effect in terms of what needs to be supplied to them in order to function."
The plant currently employs 220 people, with about 200 more jobs expected with the addition of an electric motor plant, scheduled to open in 2013.
The plant currently generates an estimated $18 million in wages, $3.7 million in payroll taxes and $520,000 in property taxes annually, according to a company document.
"We're happy with a facility like this. Even though it isn't a huge employer, it has the potential to become an even larger employer and manufacturer ... it looks promising," Kamenetz told Patch.
John Peasland, a Perry Hall resident who works as a facility manager, said the plant's positive impact stays local.
"A lot of us live right around here and we're putting money back into the economy," Peasland said. "One of our projects just came back from Mexico, so we're definitely bringing jobs back."
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis also participated in the tour with the governor, as well as Maryland Secretary of Labor Alexander Sanchez, County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and GM plant manager William Tiger.
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