The state Transportation Commission has made a few changes in the rules for grants it hands out for road improvements designed to help businesses. Department of Transportation planner Craig Markley says the changes involved what’re called “RISE” grants that’re given on the promise of creating new jobs.
Markley says they’re changing the time given for businesses to create the jobs or pay back the money. He says in the past they allowed two one-year extensions and he says the commission has cut that to one year. Markley says that means a business will now have two years to create the promised jobs.
Markley says they are also changing the cost of paying back grants when a company fails to produce the jobs. He says in the past they’d always used a negotiated interest rate if the company decided to pay back the money in installments. Now he says they’ll use the prime interest rate minus three percentage points.
Markley says the changes are a not response to problems with the program. Markley says the commission just wanted to “tighten up” the process and “maybe make it, the default a little more detrimental to folks.” Markley says less than five percent of the businesses awarded the grants default on their promises to create the new jobs.