23 May 2003
23 May 2003
Transportation issues, facilities and the cost of doing business top the list of criteria the Boeing Co. will consider as it seeks out a site to build its new 7E7.
Final assembly of the new plane will take place within the United States, the company told elected officials this morning. The company will take written proposals from state or local governments interested in hosting the final assembly plant until June 20, and will pick a site by year's end.
The pay off for the winning location - 800 to 1,200 Boeing final assembly jobs, said a source who had been involved in one of the briefings. Analysts who reviewed the list said Puget Sound's chances of being home of 7E7 final assembly are good.
""My first conclusion was 'Everett,'"" said T.M. Sell, a professor of political economy at Highline Community College and an author of a book on Boeing. ""The workers are there, the facilities are there, and costs consequently would be lower than many other alternatives.""
All things being equal ""Puget Sound would have a very good chance"" of being home to 7E7 final assembly, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group in Virginia.
Other states will dangle tax incentives, but work force issues also are among those Boeing will consider in its site-selection process. With its history as a jet-building center, the region has a clear advantage, even if the cost of doing business is higher, Aboulafia said.
""Low cost doesn't mean more efficient,"" he said. ""There's a balance to be struck between cost and productivity.""
Community leaders vowed to land the production work here.
""If I need to, I will build a new red barn for Boeing myself,"" said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat whose district includes the Everett factory.
Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel said he was glad to be at this point. After months of speculation about what Boeing would ask for, ""We can get down to business,"" he said.
""We're going to work this as hard as we can work it,"" Drewel said.
The Regional Partnership, a group formed by government, business and labor leaders around Puget Sound, issued a statement calling on the Washington Legislature to ""take bold and dramatic action that demonstrates Washington will do what it takes to win the competition to assemble the 7E7 here.""
State leaders will do ""everything in our power to win the Boeing 7E7 final assembly,"" said Gov. Gary Locke, who on Thursday had promised to seek $16 million to build a new Port of Everett pier for Boeing. ""Washington is simply the best place in the world to successfully assemble the 7E7.""
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who is seeking federal funds to develop a research center that study the kinds of composite materials Boeing will use on the 7E7, called it ""a battle we can and should win.""
""The reward is more than Boeing jobs alone,"" Cantwell said. ""It is a stronger business climate that will improve our entire state's economy.""
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