Washington, D.C. – The U.S. senate has passed legislation calling for US$25 billion in low-interest loans to automobile manufacturers for retooling older factories. In a statement, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said that the Advanced Technology Vehicle Incentives program will allow automakers to produce the next generation of vehicles in the United States.

The program passed as part of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009.

“At a critical time in our nation’s economy, these loans to our auto industry will help create good-paying jobs right here at home,” Stabenow said. “The program also provides the support the industry needs to compete in the race to create the next generation of automobiles to free us from our dependence on foreign oil.”

The retooling provision instructs the Department of Treasury to provide up to US$25 billion in low-interest loans to American automakers to finance the retooling of existing manufacturing facilities. The legislation will now go to President Bush for his signature.

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