A visibly tired Gov. Jennifer Granholm welcomed the Bush administration’s announcement that it would steer funds originally intended for the Wall Street bailout to the auto industry. But warned that quick action is needed.
“The clock is ticking, the auto industry is drowning,” she told a press conference in Lansing. “The bottom line is that, while we are not yet over the finish line, I believe this industry has been extended a life line. There is much work to be done. But there is a path to viability.”
Granholm spoke after the White House changed course on Friday by issuing a statement that said, “We will consider other options if necessary — including use of the TARP program – to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers.” The White House had previously opposed using the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help the Big Three.
Describing the events of the last week as “brutal,” Granholm blasted lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who voted against the loans to the auto companies, saying their votes were “shocking,” and that “having a strong manufacturing line means nothing” to them.
But Granholm said there was no timeline in place as to when the money would be released.
“There is not a timetable. The moment is urgent,” she said. “It has to happen as soon as it possibly can.”
Granholm encouraged people to invest in the automakers, announcing that she personally purchased 300 shares of an American auto maker today (she declined to state which one) for her children.
She also announced the state was accelerating the fleet replacement purchases for 2009. An order for 500 cars had been placed, and by the end of the calendar year a total of 1,616 cars will be ordered by the state to replace fleet vehicles for 2009.