What Happens to a Closed-Down Auto Plant?

The bankruptcy of Chrysler may sound like good news to critics of American auto culture, but the resulting job losses and plant closures are poised to deal a serious blow to already-struggling midwestern towns. Which is why it’s heartening to see that the Obama administration is working on a plan to help clean up the land surrounding shuttered plants and give it back to its rightful owners in local communities.

chrys.jpgChrysler workers leaving a plant (Photo: New York Times)

Inside the EPA, a trade publication in Washington, reported this week that the government will pay for revitalizing closed auto plants that would otherwise be at risk for joining the list of environmentally blighted Superfund sites. "Local land use" will also be a priority in turning the sites back over for future use, according to the report.

Could we soon see parks or even bike trails being built where domestic manufacturing plants once stood? That change will be a long time coming, but at least the process has begun.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

GM’s Ransom Note to America

|
With the president-elect, Congress and the current White House divided on how or if American taxpayers should save the domestic auto industry, General Motors is taking its case directly to the public with this video and accompanying web site. More threat than appeal, the message, in a nutshell, is "Do it, or else." On gmfactsandfiction.com, […]

Nano Technology

|
The much-hyped and much-criticized Tata Nano, a car that will hit the Indian market retailing for a mere 100,000 rupees — the equivalent of $2,500 — got a perplexing nod of approval from the Economist newsmagazine last week: Commuting in India’s cities can be both cosy and deadly. Children squeeze snugly between father at the […]

Electrified Transportation’s Big Week in Washington

|
While lawmakers were approving billions of dollars to entice auto buyers into moderate fuel-efficiency progress this week, the Obama administration was ramping up its push for electrified transportation. The Chevy Volt (Photo: TreeHugger) The president awarded $2.4 billion in grants to electric battery companies on Wednesday, with more than half of General Motors’ $241 million […]

GM Bailout Will Cost Taxpayers as Much as $12 Billion

|
“Government Motors” no more. The federal government is calling in its loans to General Motors, which received a taxpayer-funded injection of almost $50 billion at the height of the financial meltdown in 2008. Over the next 12 to 15 months, President Obama says the world’s largest automaker, which has been turning a healthy profit since 2010, […]

Advice for Policymakers: Time to Check Your Blind Spots

|
Last week, I left my Washington home, walked to the nearby Metro station, rode a train downtown, walked to the National Press Club, and settled in to hear Steven Rattner, former head of the Obama administration’s auto task force, declare that "no one has yet invented a substitute for the automobile." Steven Rattner (Photo: WSJ) […]