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DETROIT-Gov. John Engler has announced that Michigan’s Transportation Economic Development Fund will help pave the way for more than $1 billion in private-sector investment, 449 new jobs and the retention of 2,900 jobs. Six Michigan communities will share $20.8 million in targeted state and local funds for road improvements, which will directly assist new expansion and development for various companies.

“Good roads deliver good-paying jobs for Michigan,” Engler said. “These targeted transportation investments will help keep our state in the economic driver’s seat.” The projects are located in the counties of Berrien, Lapeer, Lenawee, Ottawa and Wayne. They will help accommodate increased traffic and provide safer, more efficient commercial routes for several expanding private firms. Various road improvements will either provide access to or improve access to Whirlpool’s Development Center in St. Joseph, which is moving to the city and expanding. Other companies that will benefit from this program include:

Active Homes Group, Inc., a modular housing manufacturer in Burnside Township, which is expanding operations from one operating line to two in 2000 and expects to create 100 new jobs by 2002.Hi-Lex, an automotive supplier of electro-mechanical devices and control cables, which is expanding operations with construction of a new plant in Hudson, creating 190 new jobs in 2002.

DeWitt Barrels and Competition Engineering, which reconditions industrial drums and other containers in Wright Township, and is investing $5 million in a new location and adding 19 positions.

Ford Motor Co., which recently completed its $1-billion Dearborn Assembly Plant and is rehabilitating existing facilities in Dearborn, MI.

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