Obama Speaks in Wakarusa

President Obama is speaking in Wakarusa today, contending Indiana’s factories will be coming alive once again and touting a national investment in electric cars, among other items. The Indy Star reports on the President’s assertions:

WAKARUSA, Ind. — President Barack Obama today announced a $2.4 billion grant program to spur both a more fuel-efficient future and jobs, including here in hard-hit Elkhart County.

“If we want to reduce our dependence on oil, put Americans back to work and reassert our manufacturing sector as one of the greatest in the world, we must produce the advanced, efficient vehicles of the future,” Obama told an invitation-only crowd at a Monaco RV plant here.

This plant had sat empty until this summer, when Monaco was bought by Navistar International.

The grants Obama announced — and which must be matched by $2.4 billion in private investment — will go to 48 projects in 25 states, including Indiana. Seven of the projects have been awarded to Indiana firms, White House officials said.

The $2.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds — being announced by Obama in Wakarusa and by Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit — includes:

>> $1.5 billion in grants to U.S.-based manufacturers to produce batteries and their components and to expand battery recycling capability in the United States.

>> $500 million in grants to U.S.-based manufacturers to produce electric drive components for vehicles, including electric motors, power electronics, and other drive train components.

>> $400 million in grants to purchase thousands of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles – including cars, delivery vehicles and trucks — for test demonstrations in several dozen locations. Those grants also will provide education and workforce training to support the transition to advanced electric transportation systems.

A couple hundred people lined the road leading into the plant, most of them supporting Obama and calling for health care reforms but a significant number there to voice their displeasure not only with what they see as a government take-over of health care but also the president’s handling of the economy.