LORDSTOWN – A trio of U.S. Democratic lawmakers in Ohio are urging congressional officials to keep a loan program intact in light of a request from upstart electric truck company Lordstown Motors Corp.

They claim that reducing or eliminating the loan program for advanced technology vehicles in any year-end government funding legislation would hurt investment in manufacturing in the United States and particularly in Lordstown, where Lordstown Motors is preparing a former General Motors assembly plant to produce electric pickup trucks. .

The government is operating on a continuing resolution that expires at midnight Friday.

U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan of Howland and Marcia Fudge of Cleveland, and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown sent homeowners a letter Wednesday as they continue to prepare a federal spending plan for 2021.

“We have offered our support to this program in the past and are alarmed to hear reports that this committee is considering funding the program,” they wrote.

The loan program, according to their letter, is “an investment in the future of American manufacturing that we must maintain if we hope to preserve American leadership in automotive innovation.”

He says Lordstown Motors has asked for help under the loan program, created in 2007 to help emerging auto companies develop more efficient vehicles.

It is not known when Lordstown Motors requested the loan or for what amount. A spokesperson for Ryan’s office declined to say and an email was sent to a spokesperson for Lordstown Motors.

In January, Ryan confirmed Lordstown Motors would ask for $ 200 million from the program and that he was part of a bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers urging the US Department of Energy to approve the request if the company so requested. .

Next, Ryan, who was helping the company with the demand, said he believed most of the money would be spent on capital investments to reuse the plant to build the truck, the Endurance. In addition, he said the company will use the loan to secure financing from the private sector.

Since then, however, Lordstown Motors has merged with New York-based DiamondPeak Holdings Corp. and has become a publicly traded company. This was to bring the company $ 675 million.

The loan program’s website says it has $ 17.7 billion to support the manufacture of qualifying light vehicles and qualifying components.

The program has already loaned $ 8 billion for projects the website touts has supported the production of more than 4 million high-tech vehicles and 35,000 direct jobs in eight states.

It loaned Ford $ 5.9 billion in 2009, Tesla Motors $ 465 million in 2010 and Nissan North America $ 1.45 billion in the same year. Nissan and Tesla repaid the loans.

The loan program has already been targeted for elimination, but congressional efforts have kept it afloat.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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