© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CNY officials await CHIPS and Science Act grants to boost Micron project

Preliminary illustrations of the Micron memory chip factories in Clay, NY.

The Biden Administration has started distributing CHIP grants meant to boost American semiconductor manufacturing. Officials in central New York expect to hear news on a grant coming for the Micron project in January.

Companies across the country are applying to win some of the $39 billion in federal funding that’s part of the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. That includes Micron, applying for funds to help build a $100 billion complex of four computer chip factories, fabs, in the Town of Clay.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said work on the first fab has already started. This project will take longer because of environmental reviews, but that wouldn’t be the case for later fabs. Now, any Chip award puts the later projects on steroids.

"The more money Micron gets, the faster they will expedite the entire project," McMahon said. "So if they get a very large number, that means that that second fab and third fab are going to be essentially first fab built, second fab started, second fab built, third fab started."

The Commerce Department is reviewing the applications for part of the $39 billion and lawmakers are lobbying for it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been using his clout to advocate for Micron and other New York projects. New York 22nd District Representative Brandon Williams said he’s also advocating for the project

"I have been calling and working with Democratic senators trying to get permit reform for Chips Act projects, particularly with Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona," Williams said. "We have a similar interest in working on trying to get this through, so far unsuccessfully, but we're still working on it just to make sure that this thing happens."

The importance of this Chips grant goes beyond Micron said McMahon, noting tech supply chain companies in places like Japan and Taiwan are closely watching what’s happening.

"Once that Chips grant happens, and they'll understand what that number means to Micron they're going to say 'Okay this is real', yeah we're going to the second, third conversation we've had with Onondaga County; Now we're going to really get down to to brass tax and figure out what our needs are in that community," McMahon said.

Micron is the only American memory technology company, so McMahon expects it to get one of the largest awards. The Chips Act is meant to encourage construction of computer chips in the U.S. after most had been shipped offshore. A defense contractor received the first federal grant.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.