Members of the Etowah County Commission responded to criticism Tuesday morning that they, among other members of local government, were unaware of a joint Mazda-Toyota plant to be built in the U.S.
“We are very aware of this, and we are not going to sit idle and not try to do something on it,” said Commissioner Tim Choate.
The plant, which was announced last week, would create about 4,000 jobs, with the two companies buying a 5 percent stake in one another to create a foundation for the partnership. The plant is expected to be operational by 2021, though the companies didn’t announce a location.
Given Alabama’s proven track record for the auto industry — with factories producing for Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz — another location inside the state may be possible, and the Little Canoe Creek megasite, with its more than 1,000 acres and railroad and highway access (pending the construction of a bypass to Interstate 59), could stand as an attractive option.
That could especially be true if the property is granted AdvantageSite status by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, which certifies it for industrial use.
No present action is planned for contacting the auto companies, Choate said in a phone conversation after the morning work session.
The commission plans to rely on the expertise of industrial development marketing consultant Tucson Roberts, of Tucson Atlantic Consulting, who will make his first trip to Etowah County for two days, starting Aug. 16, when he will be available to the commissioners to answer questions and discuss the county megasite.
David Parker, vice president…
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