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Aid for Chrysler's Toledo Machining Plant delayed

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The Ohio Tax Credit Authority was scheduled to take up an incentive request for Chrysler's Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township Monday, but the item was pulled from the agenda.

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Chrysler Group LLC's relationship with the State of Ohio hit an apparent road bump last week, even as the automaker received three key air quality permits it had requested as part of its deliberations on whether to expand production at its Toledo Assembly complex.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority was scheduled to take up an incentive request Monday for Chrysler's Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township. But the item was "pulled from the agenda" at some point after the agenda was printed. A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Development refused to say Monday what the project was.

"They're still in negotiations," said Bethany McCorkle, declining further comment.

Toledo Machining began turning out parts in 1966 and has about 840 workers making steering columns and torque converters for a wide range of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram products, according to the automaker. Analysts have said that Chrysler's recent improvements to its engine and transmission lineup could mean more work for the plant because those improvements would require upgrades to the automaker's torque converters.

Jodi Tinson, a spokesman for Chrysler, also declined to comment about the state's action or to confirm what was under consideration before the five-member Tax Credit Authority, which is charged with reviewing and approving applications and setting tax credit applicants' benefit rates and terms. The panel isn't scheduled to meet again until Aug. 29.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency last week issued new air-quality permits requested by Chrysler for its factory which makes Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro vehicles at Toledo North Assembly Plant.

The permits were the subject of a sparsely attended public hearing two weeks ago in Toledo where no one offered testimony either for or against their expanded pollution limits.

Chrysler said in its permit application that it was seeking the modifications to improve the plant's flexibility and boost production up to a maximum of 327,000 vehicles per year, or roughly 350 percent of the plant's 2010 output.

The permits were issued July 21, or 93 days after the automaker first applied for them, EPA spokesman Dina Pierce said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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