Michigan Rep. James DeSana (R) is claiming "up to $15 million" of an additional $750 million being proposed by the Gretchen Whitmer administration in corporate welfare could go to the embattled Norfolk Southern Railway Company.
The rail company made national headlines when a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, resulting in the company burning poisonous chemicals and allegedly polluting the environment.
The Whitmer administration has already given "$210 million in state incentives," and "$772 million in tax abatements," according to the Detroit News, for the project that couples Ford with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., or CATL, a communist Chinese-controlled company.
According to DeSana, the earmarked funds could be used to help Norfolk Southern "expand its footprint in Michigan."
“It’s always a bad idea to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for corporate welfare projects – but this proposal is particularly egregious. Norfolk Southern has had two dangerous train derailments in the Midwest this month – one in Michigan and another that leaked hazardous chemicals that are still causing serious concerns for families in Ohio. Yet Gov. Whitmer is asking us to ignore all that and hand over taxpayer dollars to help Norfolk Southern grow in Michigan," DeSana said in a statement.
“Until a full investigation of the Norfolk Southern derailments in Ohio and Michigan is complete, I can’t believe we’re even discussing appropriating $15,000,000 to expand their operations in Michigan,” state Rep. Andrew Fink (R) told The Midwesterner.
"I was under the impression Gov. Whitmer’s administration was focused on environmental issues, but her willingness to cut this company a check in the midst of these problems says otherwise," state Rep. Jamie Thompson (R) said in a statement.
"Norfolk Southern needs to be clear about what happened and why this is happening. There needs to be accountability. The company needs to be transparent about what it’s doing to protect the public, address these issues and prevent future incidents before a single cent of our hard-earned tax dollars is handed over to help it grow its business in Michigan," Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Democrat state Rep. Philip Skaggs defended the handouts. "It is not a blank check to the corporation," Skaggs said, according to the Detroit News. "It is simply smart government to build the infrastructure around which private enterprise can thrive."