The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 4, 2013

State to submit proposal for Boeing plant

By Budd McLaughlin
bud@athensnews-courier.com

ATHENS —

Gov. Robert Bentley said Alabama will be among the states submitting a proposal next week to land the assembly plant for Boeing's new 777X aircraft.

The governor planned to meet today with the state's chief industrial recruiter, Greg Canfield, to work on the proposal.

Bentley and other officials met with Boeing executives two weeks ago to try to get the company to develop the plant in the Huntsville area. The state faces a Dec. 10 deadline to respond to Boeing, which is seeking proposals from around the country hoping to land an aircraft assembly plant.

Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Authority, said county officials will “help however we can.”

Boeing said it would consider a new location to build the airplane after union members rejected a proposed contract in Seattle last month.

The aerospace giant already owns about 300 acres at the Huntsville International Airport and the site, just over the county line in Madison County, is large enough to accommodate the needed 1 million square feet of production space. 

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Huntsville would be a good choice since the city is an aeronautical hub and home to engineers who worked on other Boeing aircraft. More than 600 Boeing engineers in Huntsville worked on the company’s 787 Dreamliner.

State Rep. Dan Williams, R-Athens, said the state passed incentive packages to lure companies and “I hope they (Boeing) would use them.”

Bentley declined to make any comparisons between what the state may offer Boeing and the incentive package that was used to land an Airbus assembly plant in Mobile. That package was worth about $158.5 million.

Boeing executives have said a decision could come by early next year.

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