Trump budget targets loan program that could help Lordstown

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, snow covers the perimeter of the General Motors' Lordstown plant, in Lordstown, Ohio. The Trump administrations budget proposal scraps a loan program that could help an upstart electric vehicle companys plans to reuse the now-closed General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT, Mich. – The Trump administration’s budget proposal scraps a loan program that could help an upstart electric vehicle company’s plans to reuse the now-closed General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

In a summary of the budget for the coming fiscal year, the administration said Monday it wants to eliminate the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, which was created in 2007 to foster development of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Lordstown Motors Corp., a new venture that’s trying to reopen the former Lordstown GM factory east of Cleveland to build electric trucks, is considering asking for a $200 million from the loan fund. It’s also getting a $40 million loan from GM.

But it’s not clear just yet whether the loan program’s demise would cut off money for Lordstown Motors. There are still just over seven months left in the current budget year, and the program still has more than $17 billion available to loan, according to the Department of Energy, which runs the program.

Lordstown Motors said Monday that is has not yet applied for the loan and that it is just one of several financing options under review.

"We will factor this new information into our decision-making process, but our business model stands on its own without it," the company said in a statement.

Lordstown Motors could still apply for a loan during the current budget year, the Energy Department said.

Eliminating the program could be problematic for President Donald Trump, who campaigned on bringing back manufacturing jobs to Ohio, a key state in his re-election campaign. Trump lambasted GM for plans to close the Lordstown plant and then praised the new electric truck venture.