Trump’s Fiscal Budget Ends Program Lordstown Motors Wanted to Tap for $200M

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The fiscal 2021 federal budget put forth today by President Donald J. Trump cancels the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, from which Lordstown Motors Corp. has planned to seek a $200 million loan.

News that the White House wants to scuttle the loan program was released this afternoon by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, who issued a blistering statement that vowed to block the administration’s effort.

“Donald Trump came to Youngstown and told us not to sell our houses, he promised to bring jobs back to northeast Ohio, then only months later, GM announced they were closing the Lordstown plant. Our community is still reeling from that loss, but we are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel with Lordstown Motors purchasing the plant to build electric trucks. These will be good-paying jobs doing what we do best in northeast Ohio – building award-winning vehicles,” Ryan said.

“But instead of using the power of the White House to help Lordstown Motors get up and running, President Trump announced his intention on Monday to kill the very loan program that Lordstown Motors has said is critical to their business. This isn’t a hand-out, this is a loan that will be repaid in-full with interest,” the congressman continued.

“I will be using my position on the House Appropriations Committee to block the Trump Administration’s efforts to end this important program and I will continue fighting to ensure Lordstown Motors has everything they need to do their important work and get northeast Ohioans back to work.”

The fiscal 2020 budget also sought to end the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, but Ryan used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to save the program. The ATVM Loan program helps companies retool facilities to build advanced electric vehicles. In 2010, Tesla utilized this program to build its Model S. According to the Tesla company website, their $465 million loan was repaid in 2013.

On Jan. 22, Ryan led a letter from the Ohio congressional delegation that urged support of Lordstown Motor Corp.’s application for a $200 million loan through the ATVM program in the US Department of Energy, which today the Trump Administration announced their intention to cancel. On Jan. 29, the congressman met with the founder of Lordstown Motors, Steven Burns.

Lordstown Motors has said it would to use the loan funds to update their plant to manufacture electric-powered pickup trucks. The company plan to hire as many as 400 workers by the end of this year.

Responding to a request for comment, the spokesman for Lordstown Motors, Ryan Hallet, noted that his company has not yet applied for the ATVM loan.

“We are continuing conversations with government leaders as we explore our options, but we see it as one of our many options to consider,” Hallett said. “We will factor this new information into our decision-making process, but our business model stands on its own without it.”

Hallett drew our attention to the company’s statement issued Jan. 28, the day before Burns met with Ryan: “We are in discussions with government leaders about exploring the ATVM loan as an avenue for advancing Lordstown Motors. We are currently in the process of learning more about the loan and the application process, which is a pretty comprehensive one. As a private company, we are not commenting any further on financial details.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.