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Cracker fund is a sound investment

Ohio state officials revealed last week that they are pumping another $20 million into the proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County. That brings total state involvement through JobsOhio to $70 million — for a project that has not yet been announced officially as a done deal.

State officials say the $20 million will help with preparation of a site for the cracker plant, near the Ohio River in southeastern Belmont County.

PTT Global Chemical America of Thailand and Daelim Industrial Co. of South Korea have said an announcement on plans for the plant will come this summer. In view of the amount of work and money already put into the project, is virtually inconceivable that the facility will not be built.

Seventy million dollars is a lot of taxpayers’ money. But, as state officials have recognized, it is a sound investment. Initially, a few thousand construction workers will be needed to build the plant. Several hundred may be required to operate it.

That may be only the beginning, however. Eventually, the cracker may serve as a hub for many other petrochemical plants, employing thousands of area residents.

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