YOUNGSTOWN, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today praised an announcement by Vallourec to expand the V&M STAR Steel Facility in the Mahoning Valley. The $650 million economic development project, expected to create 350 jobs in the region, was made possible by $20 million in federal Recovery Act Funds.

“This is an investment in the future of the Mahoning Valley which will create good-paying jobs for Ohioans,” Brown said. “Leaders in the Mahoning Valley have been working to ensure that the region has the right infrastructure, strong business climate, and skilled workforce to advance economic development. Today’s announcement shows that when the federal government enforces trade laws, invests in infrastructure, and works with the private sector, we can create jobs and promote long-term economic growth. I commend Congressman Tim Ryan and Governor Ted Strickland, along with regional leaders, for their commitment to this effort.”

Today’s announcement follows several critical steps taken by the federal government, local elected officials, and regional business leaders.

In Oct. 2009, the cities of Girard and Youngstown reached an agreement that advanced the development of land surrounding the V&M Star Steel facility. The agreement enabled the utilization of nearly $20 million in federal economic recovery funds for transportation infrastructure improvements. The federal funds, targeted to the land surrounding the building site, are enabling improvements to roads, sewers, water lines, and railroad lines. The funds are also helping to relocate the Norfolk Southern Rail Line which will provide space for the expansion of V&M STAR facilities. The construction projects will generate 700 construction jobs for a period of 12 months while expansion of V&M is expected to create more than 400 good-paying permanent jobs. Economic development of the area could generate 100 additional full-time jobs in the surrounding corridor.

On Dec. 30, 2009, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that steel tube imports from China have injured the U.S. industry. Earlier that month, Brown testified before the ITC on this issue. The ruling, which allowed for a border measure on imports, helped domestic producers of steel like V & M STAR. By reducing Chinese imports, the trade decision helped increase demand for domestic production. Prior to the decision, V&M STAR was at 15 percent capacity. Now, the facility is at 55-60 percent capacity, and is working to add a full third shift. =