TRC Helps Drive State’s Economy

Dr. Iryna Lendel

Facility in East Liberty contributes $127 million annually

By Terry Troy

According to an economic impact study conducted by the Center for Economic Development in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty contributes $127 million to Ohio’s economy annually. The report was prepared by a research team led by Dr. Iryna Lendel, director of the Center of Economic Development at CSU.

The TRC is North America’s largest independent automotive proving ground and test center, covering 4,500 acres. It has been recognized for its research and innovation in the transportation industry since 1974. TRC is also home to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTS) Vehicle Research and Test Center, the only federal vehicle test laboratory in the nation.

The study determined that the TRC generated more than $127 million in economic output in 2019, supported more than 670 jobs, and paid almost $36 million in wages and benefits. Testing and research on behalf of TRC clients, including many of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and systems innovators, generated more than $1.3 million in taxes to local government entities, $1.3 million to the state government and $2.3 million to the federal government. An additional $67.5 million in economic activity was generated from 2011-2019 through multiple construction projects that expanded facilities on TRC’s campus.

“Our research shows that TRC is generating vitality not only for its immediate region, but also making significant contributions to economic growth and sustainability all across the state,” said Lendel. “Its operations create about $127 million in economic output for the state annually. In 2019, TRC supported 674 full-time and part-time jobs in Ohio, including 457 direct jobs and 216 in the supply chain and other industries. These jobs corresponded to almost $36 million in labor income and just under $5 million in annual tax revenue.” The Cleveland State study was underwritten by JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation. JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef said innovation generated at the TRC has a global impact that is particularly valuable to Ohio’s economy.

“TRC’s economic impact is being felt all across Ohio, while its support of transportation innovation and breakthrough technologies is an ongoing benefit worldwide, touching every facet of the automotive and logistics and distribution sectors,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “This economic and technical leadership pays its greatest dividends here in Ohio, where these combined sectors accounted for over 6% of our state’s economic might in 2020. In this way, TRC is keeping Ohio competitive for the jobs and economic growth we need to embrace the future, ensuring that our state is always one step – or more – ahead with each emerging technology.”

JobsOhio has made significant investments in TRC’s facilities to help maintain Ohio’s leadership role and capitalize on the industry advancements and jobs. This includes the construction of TRC’s 540-acre SMARTCenter complex, which is designed for validating advances in automated and connected vehicle technologies. JobsOhio also invested in the repaving of the track at TRC to allow testing of vehicles over 200 miles per hour. It also helped establish the Edge R&C Center to attract leaders in connected and automated vehicle testing.

Ohio has the nation’s second largest workforce in terms of motor vehicle manufacturing (OEM Assembly) and motor vehicle parts manufacturing (auto parts suppliers). The state is home to production and assembly facilities from major automotive brands, including Fiat/Chrysler Automobiles and Jeep, Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Honda. Ohio is the number one producer of automotive engines, the number two producer of transmissions and is the second largest state in the nation in terms of overall automotive manufacturing.