Delaware taxpayers increasingly on the hook as Fisker auto plant idles

Posted by on Jan 03, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Delaware taxpayers appear to be getting soaked twice under a deal in which the Democratic governor lent $21.5 million to a hybrid electric carmaker to set up shop in the state. The company has yet to produce a car in Delaware, and taxpayers are footing the electric bill for the idle plant.

The deal was enthusiastically announced in 2009 by Gov. Jack Markell and Vice President Biden — formerly Delaware’s senior senator — as a way to bring as many as 2,500 green jobs to the state. But California-based Fisker Automotive Inc. has since suffered a series of setbacks that have compounded its shaky financial situation.

“It has not worked out the way he had envisioned,” Markell spokeswoman Cathy Rossi acknowledged Monday in a statement to FoxNews.com. “We didn’t know and couldn’t have known about the underlying technical and financial problems.”

Delaware reportedly has paid at least $400,000 in utility bills since about April, when Fisker halted operations and laid off dozens of workers at the 142-acre, Wilmington-area facility. Markell staffers told The News Journal the payments are part of the grant deal and necessary to at least keep Fisker’s small-scale operation on life support.

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