In a down economy, manufacturers have been closing buildings and opening up the potential from theft and vandalism. But, in an agreement that could pump new economic life into depressed communities from the Midwest to the East Coast, General Motors Co. will create a $773-million trust fund to clean up pollution at old factory sites and prepare them for new uses and investment. The money, put up under a deal negotiated with state and federal officials as part of GM’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy, is earmarked for 89 projects in 14 states. While the ultimate goal of the cleanup is to rehabilitate the abandoned sites and turn them over to new businesses, the most immediate benefit may be the jobs created in areas that have been especially hard hit by the decline of the U.S. auto industry and the recession. GM agreed to establish the fund as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, for which it expects final approval early next year. More than $300 million of the $773 million would be split almost evenly between Michigan and New York. Michigan’s share would go to cleaning up 56 properties across the state, with most of the money going to remediation work in Flint.
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