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GM To Sink $600 Million Into KCK Plant

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Dan Verbeck

General Motors has committed to a more than half billion dollar investment into its assembly plant in the Fairfax District of Kansas City, Kansas.

GM CEO Dan Akerson gave the Governor and the mayor and hundreds of autoworkers his list of successes since corporate bankruptcy, including eleven quarters of profitability.

Akerson capped it with the $600 million investment that is ahead.

“That’s one of the largest single plant investments in one plant in GM’s history, other than a greenfield, new plant. So this is testimony to how well this plant is run,” he said.

Investment includes a 450 thousand square-foot painting shop described as state-of-the-art environmentally friendly.

The shop will be built at the north side of the current plant on a spot where bombers were built in the 1940’s.

The United Auto Workers vice president who deals with GM union matters said the plant success speaks to virtues of the middle-class.

In the words of Joe Ashton, “the people here in the audience, both in management in the unions, are the ones that come to work every day, pay their taxes. Without the middle-class, God knows where this country would be.”

There was no mention of an increase in the number of jobs. Fairfax employs nearly 4,000 people.

The automaker said construction will begin later this year and will take some two years to finish. It will increase the plant’s overall size by about 15 percent, to approximately 3.7 million square feet.

Plant manager Bill Kulhanek said the new 450,000 square foot paint shop will produce fewer pollutants and consume less energy.

The company says the shop will use 20 percent less natural gas and a 40 percent smaller amount of electricity.

Water use reportedly will be reduced and hazardous chemicals removed from the waste.

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Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR
This G.M. plant in Kansas City,Kansas will expand some 15 percent from a $600 Million investment.

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