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Intel incentives raise questions from Licking County residents

The state approved $2 billion incentives in preparation for Intel's arrival in 2025.

LICKING COUNTY, Ohio — Ohio has sweetened the deal to lure Intel to western Licking County by approving billions of dollars in tax incentives along with infrastructure projects in anticipation of more traffic and more housing.

The state is spending $110 million to widen Interstate 270, state Route 161 and expand Mink Road to four lanes. Another $180 million will be spent inside the New Albany annexation area and $101.2 million on water and sewer lines.

There's no claw back of that money if Intel were to pull out of the deal.

"We're not going to dig these pipes out of the ground and we're not going to tear up the road and replace them. These are regional fixes even if Intel doesn't come here," said State Representative Mark Fraizer (R-Newark).

The incentives package also doesn't guarantee the percentage of Ohioans Intel must hire inside and out of the plant.

Representative Fraizer says that wouldn't make sense.

"It's kind of putting the cart before the horse. You have to hire this many Ohioan residents for these jobs without having any idea, certificate degree program and where they are going to offer them and where they going to live," he said.

When asked why Frazier didn't push for a guarantee of Ohio labor he said, "I just have a lot of fear of putting an arbitrary mandate in that would sabotage the construction, that would sabotage the location,  that would sabotage the opportunity for young people and that's what I'm hearing in a lot of these arguments is let's put an arbitrary number out there without any practicality," he said.

Eric Taylor of Johnstown says he would like to see the jobs go to locals instead of out of state hires.

"I'd like to see local unions like plumbers to electricians. Anything union based I'd like to see that," he said.

There are also questions about the amount of water Intel will require. Residents say they've heard that Intel will have water pumped from Hoover Reservoir and could need as much as 12 million gallons of water a day during peak production.

10TV contacted Columbus who responded, “The City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities is currently in negotiations with the City of New Albany for public utility service needs at the future site of Intel.  We are therefore not able to comment on any specifics until those negotiations are completed.”

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