NEW ALBANY — While it may be a county away, the two future Intel semiconductor chip factories will have an impact on traffic in Delaware County.
Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman has discussed what Intel might mean in his presentations. It was noted that 90% of Delaware County’s population is within a 40-minute drive of Intel, and even those in the northwest corner of the county is within an hour of Intel.
“Delaware County has already had several meetings and discussions with (the Ohio Department of Transportation) about addressing impacts to our transportation network,” said a PowerPoint presentation from the Delaware County Engineer’s Office (DCEO). “Commuting patterns are likely to change. More east-west travel from Orange Township to New Albany is expected.”
At 4 p.m. on Nov. 2, DCEO vehicles left the Intel plant site and took three different routes to the Orange Township Hall Park to see how long the commutes would take. Using state Route 161 and Interstate 71 took 31 minutes to go 23.9 miles; while using local roads took 32 minutes to go 19.3 miles; and using SR 161 and Interstate 270 to U.S. Route 23 took 34 minutes and covered 25.5 miles.
“Delaware County has no choice but to shift more local resources toward addressing bottlenecks and safety concerns on local roads in Harlem and Trenton townships,” the presentation concluded.
Recent visits by The Gazette to the Silicon Heartland has confirmed those commute times and distances. In addition, both New Albany and Johnstown are actively in the process of adding technology/enterprise zones in what were rural areas of their respective communities. Housing and commercial real estate needs in the region are expected to rise accordingly.
Ohio Development Director Lydia Mihalik said earlier this year that Intel is receiving nearly $2 billion in public incentives to build in the New Albany area, the largest such package in state history.
There was $691 million in infrastructure ($300 million for a water reclamation facility, $290 million in roadwork, $101 million to upgrade water/wastewater capacity); $650 million in job creation tax credits (estimated); and $600 million in cash to construct the two plants ($300 million per plant), which is conditional on the basis that they are done in 2025.
“When you look at what we’re giving Intel and compare it to what we’re getting in return, some may wonder if it’s worth it. And the answer is yes,” Mihalik said at the time during a news conference. She said Intel would contribute $2.8 billion annually to Ohio’s gross state product.
However, the plants will total $20 billion, meaning every six cents from Ohio will be matched by a dollar from Intel, Mihalik has said.
JobsOhio also offered $150 million in grant funding, news reports said. In addition, the City of New Albany is offering a 30-year, 100% property tax abatement in its city business park. In part for his efforts to land the Intel manufacturing plant, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission awarded its latest Excellence in Public Service Award to City Manager Joe Stefanov.
Thousands of employees, earning an average salary of $135,000, will be working at the complex when it opens in late 2025, media reports have said.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.