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The Daily



07-03-03: Boeing looking at Ohio for new facility
The Daily Standard
    Fierce competition is shaping up among more than 20 states looking to land Boeing Co.'s proposed manufacturing facility for its next-generation passenger jet.
    Ohio officials are among that group and the state's proposal looks enticing, a local development official said this morning. State and U.S. Congressmen from Ohio also are ratcheting up the effort to lure the Chicago-based Boeing to the Birthplace of Aviation.
    U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Old Fort, rallied the entire Ohio Congressional delegation to sign a letter urging Boeing to consider Ohio.
    "The state of Ohio is rich in history, specifically when it comes to aviation," Gillmor said in a news release issued this week. "We boast one of the nation's largest economies and have a workforce that is second to none. I am happy, and appreciate, my colleagues joining me in this venture as we continue to work toward convincing Boeing that The Birthplace of Aviation should be the Birthplace of the Dreamliner."
    The Dreamliner is the nickname of Boeing's proposed 7E7 passenger jet.
    Mercer County Community Develop-ment Director Larry Stelzer said this morning the Boeing project would be an estimated $900 million investment that would create 1,200 jobs.
    "Ohio has a very good shot at it," Stelzer said this morning after discussing the issue with someone in Gov. Bob Taft's office. "We're doing our homework right now."
    Gillmor spokesman Geoffrey Basye said this morning the Ohio proposal will focus on three areas - Toledo, Youngstown-Warren and Columbus. Those cities and their airports appear to meet Boeing's requirements, Basye said. Gillmor would like to see the Boeing facility land in Toledo, in his home district, but knows it would benefit the entire state in any of the three cities, Basye said.
    Among Boeing's requirements are a 10,000-foot runway with 450- to 600-acre parcel of land with runway access. The company also would prefer an ocean or major riverport, although many cities under consideration are not major ports.
    The runway requirement means that Boeing won't be coming to the Grand Lake St. Marys area, but an airplane plant would benefit the local economy, Stelzer said.
    "This would be tremendous for all of Ohio," Stelzer said. "Think how many niche suppliers there would be for something like that. Anything that big would be awesome for the state."
    The competition for Boeing's investment figures to be fierce. Many states have included huge incentive packages in their initial proposals to the company.
    King County, Washington, is lobbying hard for the Boeing plant. As former home to Boeing's headquarters, that community apparently wants to maintain its relationship with the aviation giant. The Seattle area remains the home of most of Boeing's manufacturing base. Mesa, Ariz., already home to two Boeing facilities that employ 4,300 people, also is in the running.
    Texas and California also seem to be leading contenders, industry experts have said in recent published reports.
    In some cases, states that fail to meet some of Boeing's requirements, are trying to bridge the gap with cash. Kansas, for example, has approved a $500 million bond issue to assist the company's development plans if the 7E7 goes to the Sunflower State.
    Boeing officials are trying to keep the selection process low-key and have said they do not even plan to announce finalists before issuing a final decision. The company is expected to decide by the end of the year where the 7E7 will be built.
    The Dreamliner has been developed as a fuel-efficient, 200- to 250-passenger plane that can cover 7,000 to 8,000 miles at speeds similar to existing commercial jets.


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