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March 8, 2021 1:15 PM, EST

Wisconsin DOT Issues Grants to Support Milwaukee-Area Manufacturing Facilities

John Koetz John Koetz, president of surface mining for Komatsu Mining Corp., announced plans for the South Harbor facility in Milwaukee in September 2018. Ground was broken Sept. 9, 2020, and full occupancy is projected by 2022. (Komatsu Mining Co. via YouTube)

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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently distributed grants to support infrastructure improvements near two manufacturing facilities in the Milwaukee area.

WisDOT issued two Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) grants totaling about $1.7 million to support Komatsu Mining Corp.’s new manufacturing facility and headquarters in Milwaukee’s Harbor District. Bordering Lake Michigan, the Harbor District provides access to the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers. The agency also issued a TEA grant of $250,000 for road construction work at a new Milwaukee Tool facility in West Bend, which is 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

The grants dedicated to the Komatsu facility will provide road and rail improvements to serve the company’s campus. One of the grants, representing $731,000, will support the reconstruction of a portion of Kinnickinnic Avenue to allow large trucks to safely access the site. WisDOT’s announcement indicated road work is expected to take place in 2022.

The second Komatsu-related TEA grant totals $1 million and involves the construction of a railroad spur, which will link the plant to Union Pacific Railroad and Canadian Pacific Railway lines. Work on the rail spur is expected to be completed by this fall.

“Transportation is vital to manufacturers like Komatsu and to Wisconsin’s other important industry sectors,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “When we improve Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure, we help our state’s businesses be more competitive. That improves the economy and makes life better for all of us.”

The $250,000 grant supporting Milwaukee Tool will help with a $2.1 million project to build a new street in West Bend called Forge Place. Spanning 1,500 feet, Forge Place will form a connection to Milwaukee Tool’s facility. According to WisDOT, the new facility plans to add 50 jobs.

Jay Shambeau

Shambeau

“Constructing Forge Place will support Milwaukee Tool’s new manufacturing facility along with future developments available in our new industrial [tax incremental district], the West Bend Manufacturing Center,” West Bend City Administrator Jay Shambeau said.

Established in 1987, the TEA program provides matching state grants for road, rail, harbor and airport projects that help attract employers to Wisconsin or encourage in-state businesses to expand. A municipal or county government agency must sponsor a TEA application. The goal of the program is to attract businesses and create and increase jobs. Local communities must ensure that the number of jobs expected from a proposed project will materialize within three years from the date of the project agreement.

Besides the TEA grant, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. authorized Komatsu to receive up to $59.5 million in state tax credits. According to WisDOT, the actual amount of tax credits received will depend on the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment the company makes.

“We appreciate the partnerships that are moving these projects forward,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “They are examples of how strategic transportation investments can support job growth and strengthen our economy. It is great to see the progress at the Komatsu development, and the rail and roadway projects are a significant part of that.”

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