By ADAM KERLIN
WHITE MARSH (Jan. 276, 2010) - General Motors Corp. will be the first major automaker to produce electric motors on United States soil after investing $246 million in the Baltimore Transmission plant, an investment that would immediately generate about 200 new jobs, GM executives said.
Gov. Martin O'Malley joined federal and local officials at GM's White Marsh plant to announce the manufacturing project Tuesday. The production of electric motors will create jobs and expand green manufacturing, two of O'Malley's legislative priorities.
Ultimately, the production of the motors and the growth of the renewable energy market in the Baltimore area could create 1,700 jobs, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith said.
O'Malley couldn't be happier.
"This team is focused on one thing and one thing only," O'Malley said, "creating and saving as many jobs for as many Maryland families as we can."
Beginning in 2013, the facility will have the capacity to manufacture 40,000 Global Rear Wheel Drive motors, which GM believes will be the "next wave of automotive growth." O'Malley said the project will thrive because of Maryland's talented workforce.
O'Malley's 2010 agenda is heavy on clean energy. He has introduced four pieces of legislation that support his goal of making Maryland a national leader in renewable energy. Two of the bills include tax credits, one for renewable energy production and another for people who purchase plug-in electric vehicles, which are slated to come out this fall.
O'Malley also wants to increase solar energy production requirements, which he believes will create jobs in commercial and private solar installation.
Along with creating jobs and making Maryland a leader in green manufacturing, officials said investing in engines that will reduce fuel consumption could also make the United States a safer place. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, both Democrats, believe relying less on foreign oil will help the national fight against terrorism.
"Every time someone fills up a tank of gas the money goes to the countries that hate us," Mikulski said. "We want to be energy independent, we like energy efficiency."
Mikulski also believes now is the perfect timing for GM's investment.
"Some say a country that doesn't make something can't make something of themselves," Mikulski said.
Cardin agreed, praising the administrators at GM for bringing the manufacturing project to White Marsh.
"We are going to grow manufacturing in America," Cardin said. "We know that it's part of our future."
This is the second time in four years GM has picked the White Marsh plant for one of its major projects. In 2006 the facility was put in charge of designing and building the company's first hybrid transmission.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.