A U.S. alternative-vehicle loan program criticized by Republican lawmakers for financing two failed startups will resume marketing to industry groups and possible applicants, an Energy Department spokeswoman said.
The $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program has about 60 percent of its funding remaining and is open after making no loans since 2011, said Aoife McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the agency that administers the program created in 2008 by President George W. Bush’s administration.
“With no sunset date and more than $15 billion in remaining authority, the program plans to conduct an active outreach campaign to educate industry associations and potential applicants about the substantial remaining funds available and the application process in general,” she said in an e-mail.
The program was criticized by Republican nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election for assisting what he called “losers.”
Congress held a hearing in April to look into the default of Fisker Automotive Inc., which drew $193 million from its $529 million loan before ceasing production last year.
While backing Fisker and wheelchair vanmaker Vehicle Production Group LLC, which defaulted on its $50 million loan in May, the program also financed Tesla Motors Inc., which in May repaid its $465 million loan in full nine years early. Tesla now has a stock market value of more than $20 billion.
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