- The Brownsville Navigation District Board of Commissioners signed off on an 800-acre land option agreement with an Arkansas steel manufacturer that could bring a new $1.6 billion steel mill to the Port of Brownsville in Texas, according to a port press release.
- The Port of Brownsville is one of two options Big River Steel is considering for its massive mill expansion, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. The other is an addition to an existing facility in its home state of Arkansas. The land deal makes it possible for Big River to begin its due diligence on the Port of Brownsville option.
- Port of Brownsville officials said the mill project, which would supply steel to U.S. automakers, could employ as many as 1,500 construction workers and create 500 full-time jobs when complete.
Local governments and other authorities are usually eager to make deals for projects that create jobs for area residents. This is especially true for projects that will boost the local construction industry and provide manufacturing jobs that might have gone to overseas factories. One large manufacturing project can have a ripple effect on the region and state.
In Wisconsin, for example, the new $10 billion Foxconn LCD screen factory is projected to generate jobs for at least 10,000 construction workers, who are expected to earn a total of $600 million a year. The project is also expected to create 6,000 to 10,000 related support positions during the construction phase. Also benefiting from the new factory are infrastructure contractors and their employees. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is allocating $630 million for interstate and road improvements around the new plant, a spending program that should keep highway contractors busy.
WisDOT will spend approximately $500 billion widening a section of Interstate 94 and $134 million to repair and improve local roads. Area counties are also considering job-generating projects like a commuter rail system to ease traffic congestion.
Not all projects are as impactful as the Foxconn factory, but smaller projects can still give local economies a meaningful boost. Iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs recently broke ground on a $700 million hot-briquetted iron (HBI) production plant in Toledo, Ohio, that is expected to create 1,200 temporary construction positions and 120 permanent jobs with an average annual salary of $90,000.
And in February, Riverview Energy filed a construction permit application for a $2.5 billion coal-to-diesel plant in Spencer, Indiana. That project is expected to create more than 2,000 temporary construction jobs and 225 full-time positions when the factory opens.