Governor Doyle Signs Recovery Zone Bond Bill

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Gov. Jim Doyle, D-Wis., has signed into law S.B.440, which allows the state to maximize federal bonds to help fund projects that will create hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin. The bill was signed at Energy Composites Corp. (ECC), a wind blade manufacturing plant in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., that could benefit from the measure.Â

Wisconsin received $238 million in bonding authority from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to be divided among 63 counties, plus the cities of Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. Under ARRA, most counties did not receive a large enough share of the funding to effectively provide assistance to businesses that need it. These bonds must be issued by Jan. 1, 2011.Â

Under S.B.440, any county or city that does not use its original bond allocation in a timely manner has its share re-entered into a statewide pool. The Department of Commerce will then administer those funds to provide needed financing to help companies like ECC move forward projects to expand and create jobs.Â

ECC is looking to break ground on a 535,000 square-foot wind blade manufacturing plant next month -Â a project that is expected to create more than 600 clean energy jobs for the Wisconsin Rapids area.Â

‘Tax-free bonds are a critical component of our financing plan for the 535,000 square-foot plant,’ says Sam Fairchild, CEO of ECC. ‘Development costs for our new factory are too large for traditional industrial development financing programs, and the recovery zone bond program, which expires at the end of 2010, is precisely the right solution at precisely the right time.’Â

Upon completion, ECC's new plant will be capable of building blades up to 65 meters in length for onshore and offshore wind farms. The plant will employ more than 600 employees, most of whom will be certified through ECC's blade fabrication curriculum in partnership with Mid-State Technical College.Â

SOURCES: Office of Gov. Jim Doyle, Energy Composites Corp.

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