oscar_mayerThe Iowa Transportation Commission approved more state funding Tuesday for the Oscar Mayer plant in Davenport. The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved $4.75 million dollars in state incentives to the Kraft Heinz Foods company last week to keep the plant in Davenport.

The Transportation Commission approved a nearly $4.7 million grant that Davenport economic development coordinator, Sarah Ott, says is needed for a road to the plant. She says the construction of the new road will allow access to the build site in the industrial park. The company will build the new plant and then tear down the old one.

The transportation grant was part of a joint application by the city and Scott County. “We are currently in the process of annexing 70 acres that they have purchased into the city of Davenport. It abuts right next to both Scott County and the City of Eldrige. Both have stated their support for this project as well,” Ott says. The project promises to retain some 470 jobs in Davenport out of the 14-hundred at the current plant.

The Transportation Commission approved another grant of more than $1.5 million for a joint project between Burlington and West Burlington for the GE plant. The economic development director for the Greater Burlington Partnership, David Toyer, talked to the commission about the project. “I think this is a wonderful project that demonstrates a great example of how a partnership works in Iowa to create jobs,” Toyer says. “We’ve got a project that’s inside the city limits of West Burlington, and we’ve got a road improvement that’s needed to support this project that is really in both communities.”

Toyer says the project is part of a big turnaround story. “Back in 2009, GE was down to 109 employees in West Burlington. And today they have 322. With this project they’ll add another 128 jobs to the mix,” Toyer says. Governor Terry Branstad was on hand earlier this month for the announcement of the expansion.

He says the company is expanding to make a new part. “This is actually going to be support of a new line of medium voltage switch gear. It’s their fourth generation of switch gear that GE is going to manufacture, and we’re really excited that they are going to be doing that here in the State of Iowa,” Toyer says. The total project will cost $2.175 million.