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US House passes bill including funding Intel says is critical to expansion of Ohio facility

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Intel
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In a photo provided by Intel, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-OH) is seen at the announcement of the Intel project in Newark on January 14, 2022.

State and Intel leaders have urged members of Congress to pass the funding, which was approved in a bipartisan vote by the US Senate last year.

The Democratic-run US House has passed, mostly along party lines, a huge bill that seeks to help the US compete with China. It includes $52 billion in funding for computer chip manufacturing.

State officials and Intel leaders said that money was critical to the expansion of Intel’s newly announced $20 billion central Ohio factory. The funding, initially in what was called the CHIPS for America Act, was approved by the US Senate last year as part of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) of 2021. Both Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) voted for it.

Ohio will invest around $2 billion in the Intel project, which could grow into a $100 billion plant and the world’s largest. The project will start out with two manufacturing facilities or fabs, with the possibility of growing to eight fabs. Construction is expected to begin later this year and the two fabs could be online by 2025.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-OH) was the state's point person on the Intel project. He said in an interview for "The State of Ohio" that the state’s money will buy infrastructure and invest in a facility that will employ thousands of Ohioans.

"We'll get $2.8 billion in growth in our GDP every year, just from phase one of this. So it's going to pay back in a very, very short period of time," Husted said. "Every time they build out a new phase that will replicate itself. It will be the same thing in phase two. Same thing in phase three. Same thing in phase four. Over time, it will add so much growth to our GDP in the state that it will pay back on multiple occasions."

In addition to widening of Route 161 through New Albany, Husted said a water treatment facility will be built to address the environmental concerns about water use. Semiconductor factories use millions of gallons of water, including what's called ultra-pure water.

And Husted stressed the money is being invested in a high tech project, but it’s not a cryptocurrency or social media company – it’s a manufacturing facility.

“The people have to physically be here," Husted said. "So these are jobs that will be in Ohio, not a company that locates here that will employ thousands of people anywhere. It's thousands of people employed here.”

Husted is also predicting more renewable energy opportunities will develop, as Intel has said it wants to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030. But he doesn't think the renewable energy standards that are gutted and then eliminated in House Bill 6 - the controversial nuclear power plant bailout law that's the center of a corruption scandal - will return.

All four of Ohio’s Democratic Congressmembers voted for the House bill, with all 12 Ohio Republican Congressmen against it.

Republicans wanted to strip out $8 billion for climate change, and said it didn’t do enough to help boost American research and technology.

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