ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The Boeing Company is looking for a site to manufacture its newest commercial airliner, the 777X. The twin-engine plane is described as the largest and most efficient of its kind.
Missouri plans to compete for the business. The state received its request for proposal Friday and has been working with St. Louis regional economic experts since then to build a proposal of incentives and advantages for the company to consider.
'We must work to diversify our aerospace industry,' Governor Jay Nixon told a crowd of business people Wednesday from St. Louis and St. Charles Counties. 'I think our opportunity is very real,' he said during a luncheon in Chesterfield.
But Nixon noted speed was critical to the success of a state`s bid. 'This is moving very quickly. It is a big project. The timeline on request for proposals are very quick and we certainly have not ruled out bringing the legislature back in to help us fine tune things to make us as competitive as possible.'
As of Wednesday afternoon the Governor had not indicated if he would call the Missouri Legislature into special session. Several Republican lawmakers have indicated they would be willing to consider new incentives for the Boeing deal including state aid for infrastructure improvements. A similar incentive package helped to expand Ford Motor Company jobs in the Kansas City area.
Nixon said the region`s long history producing military jets and missiles gives it good standing with Boeing. 'Boeing has 15 thousand workers here; Boeing has a significant investment in this region and our workers have performed at a very competitive way for them so you have in essence a hometown company,' Nixon said.
The 777X plant is expected to create thousands of well paying jobs and to foster a statewide supply network of airplane parts suppliers.
Nixon said he would be sure the state`s proposed economic incentives are based on a solid 'economic analysis that will benefit the state`s economy.'
'We make sure we have a solid return on investment before we make any commitments,' the governor explained. Under the 'Missouri Works' legislation approved this year, the Governor has new flexibility to design and officer an incentive package to a potential employer.
Nixon sees opportunity for Boeing in the St. Louis market as production of the F-18 military jet slows down. He believes the local workforce will give the aerospace giant certainty in the production process. 'You have a workforce, an organized workforce here that is trained, that is safe, that is competitive and is willing to make the kind of long term agreements that they have in the past.'
Nixon wants a plan ready before mid-December.
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