President Joe Biden celebrates Micron in Syracuse

Money talks. That was the main focus of President Joe Biden's speech today, with smiles on the faces of Republicans and Democrats alike with what supporters called the final piece of the puzzle that now exists for the Micron project in Clay.

“It's a big deal,” President Biden said, smiling during his remarks.

Last week, a preliminary agreement to provide $6.1 billion in direct funding to Micron from the CHIPS and Science Act was announced. This funding will be split between Micron's Boise, Idaho, site, as well as the four expected microchip manufacturing sites in Clay; The amount each will receive is “confidential,” according to CEO Sanjay Mehrotra.

“I have been in this industry for more than 40 years, and there has never been a more exciting moment for the semiconductor industry,” Mehrotra said.

The funding will come in the form of waivers, tied to specific phases in the project, according to President Biden's director of science and technology policy, Arati Prabhakar. There is also about $7 billion available in federal loans, as well as $5.5 billion from New York state and millions in state and local tax breaks.

“Micron is of course investing huge private capital, so it's about bringing all of this together to make this big thing happen,” Prabhakar said.

President Biden praised the work of not only his fellow Democrats Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Chuck Schumer, but also Republican Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. Biden landed at Syracuse Hancock International Airport at approximately 12:30 p.m., and spent some time with these three leaders on the tarmac. McMahon shared that President Biden, based on his time as a county official decades ago, joked that county government is sometimes harder than it is in D.C.

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The president's destination was the most important, as it was equipped with a dedicated Micron exhibition. He had a rather special pitch and tell to Micron leaders, where Mehrotra told President Biden that the federal grant would lead to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. President Biden pumped his fist as he briefed the room, telling the room that Micron would have a “tremendous impact” in Central New York.

Former Congressman John Katko agrees.

“The economic benefits are great, and the national security implications are enormous,” Katko said. “And in Central New York, it's time for some good news from a manufacturing standpoint.”

Katko was among dozens of prominent audience members, and one of 24 House Republicans in 2022 who broke party lines to support the CHIPS and Science Act. Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Claudia Tenney voted against legislation that directly leads to Project Micron and investments in sites across the country. President Biden was keen to make this point, injecting some politics into his speech at Micron.

“Congressman Brandon Williams called it ‘corporate welfare.’ “And Elise Stefanik, in just a few counties, called it ‘Washington at its worst,'” President Biden said, asking for defunding. They're not here to celebrate, but the transformation is great now, isn't it?

Rep. Williams' then-campaign spokesman claimed before the 2022 election that if he had been in office, Rep. Williams would have voted for the CHIPS and Science Act. The congressman reiterated the assumption about X, formerly known as X, following President Biden's remarks on Thursday. Representative Williams was not present.

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Micron first announced its $100 billion investment in October 2022, making somewhat of a bet on the strength of the industry over the coming years. Their confidence has only grown with the advent of more advanced artificial intelligence, or AI.

“Memory is more important to the new computer models of the future today than it was 18 months ago when we announced this project,” said Manish Bhatia, executive vice president of global operations for Micron.

A lot will have to happen in the coming years for the four facilities – each set to be over 40 football fields in size – to become a reality. State and federal environmental reviews of White Pine Commerce Park in Clay are currently underway; From there, significant improvements to the infrastructure are necessary to provide the required water and electricity. Micron's next steps are to finalize designs and construction contracts, County Executive McMahon said.

“These construction plans will be formalized in preparation for a busy 2025,” McMahon said.

According to the Biden administration, the Department of Commerce, with support from the Departments of Education and Labor, will establish a workforce center to help address the training needs of the semiconductor industry and related investments in the region by strengthening collaboration with partners such as labor unions, employers, and education and training providers to ensure workers have access to opportunities. Equal employment and the training and skills necessary for the job.

For those who are still waiting to be able to touch something in clay to feel like it's real; Onondaga Community College President Dr. Warren Helton believes the money speaks for itself now.

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“I've never been given $6.1 billion, but I don't think you give $6.1 billion to someone if it's not real,” Dr. Hilton said.

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