Area Development
Michigan Department of Transportation and state economic development officials allocated more than $1.2 million in transportation improvement incentive grants to create a major transportation link for Gentex Corporation's new 140-acre, $100 million, manufacturing complex in Zeeland Township, Michigan.

Gentex, which manufactures electro-optic components such as interior and exterior mirrors primarily for automotive industry, plans to create 960 jobs in west central Michigan.

This week state DOT, economic development and township officials allocated grants viewed as essential to fund construction of a major new truck route for the largest manufacturing employer in Ottawa County, Gentex Corp.

"Good roads lead to good jobs," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "These grants will help fund road improvements, creating new jobs and boosting economic development."

"The new 88th Avenue truck route will support our proposed site expansion, allowing Gentex products to be shipped to our automotive customers around the world," said Bruce Los, Gentex senior vice president.

"Zeeland Charter Township is excited to have a world-class company like Gentex construct a new industrial complex within the township. Along with the many new jobs that will be created comes additional traffic. We appreciate MDOT's support with the rebuilding of 88th Avenue to accommodate the future traffic needs for this major project and the surrounding area," said Zeeland Charter Township Supervisor Glenn Nykamp.

The Zeeland Township site was selected for its proximity to existing facilities and convenient access to I-196. Gentex plans on trucks using 88th Avenue to access Fairview Avenue to get to I-196, a major interstate road stretching from Grand Rapids in the north, around Lake Michigan, and connecting to major interstate roads in the region.

According to Michigan DOT, the estimated cost of these transportation improvements is $1,452,437; $244,678 will be paid by Gentex, $225,307 by the township and $982,452 from state transportation economic development funds.