State representative wants Boeing plant in Decatur

SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois lawmaker is hoping Boeing Co. builds a new manufacturing plant in Decatur, about 180 miles southwest of its corporate headquarters in Chicago.

Rep. Bill Mitchell, a Republican from Forsyth, said the central Illinois community would be a prime spot for Boeing to build its new 400-seat 777X jetliner, according to a report by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers

Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018, and grow to 8,500 by 2024.

“A few years back, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago, with assistance from Illinois taxpayers,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I am encouraging Boeing to come to Decatur to see the great manufacturing capacity and highly skilled workforce we have ready to get to work.”

Several other states also submitted offers by Tuesday’s deadline, including Missouri, Alabama and California.

Illinois officials haven’t detailed the state’s bid for the factory, but they have called it a “compelling proposal.”

Most states are crafting their proposals privately.

Boeing officials are expected to announce the new plant’s location early next year.

Decatur is home to Archer Daniels Midland Co., which has said it plans locate its international headquarters outside the community. Chicago and several out-of-state cities have been identified as potential locations.

The Illinois Senate passed legislation this month that would have provided $30 million in tax breaks for ADM. But the House never acted on the measure before adjourning.

After that, House Speaker Michael Madigan criticized corporate requests for tax breaks and the influential Democrat said he wants to review how Illinois decides which companies get the tax deals.

Mitchell says he hopes to file legislation that would target incentives for places such as Decatur where there’s been a decrease in manufacturing.

Boeing has said that the 777X should be larger – carrying as many as 400 passengers instead of 365 – and more fuel efficient than the current 777. It already is taking orders for the new airplane and is aiming to deliver the first jets by the end of the decade.

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