Q-C makes bid for Boeing plant that would bring 8,500 jobs

Originally Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2013, 11:17 am
Last Updated: Dec. 26, 2013, 8:11 pm
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By Stephen Elliott,

The Quad-Cities officially threw its hat into the ring Monday for a new Boeing manufacturing plant that would provide 8,500 jobs.

The Bi-State Regional Commission sent a letter Monday to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad asking them to join together to, "submit, at least, a letter indicating a bi-state effort is possible, with a fully detailed proposal to follow."

The letter was signed by Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher, Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley, Moline Mayor Scott Raes, East Moline Mayor John Thodos, Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek, and Scott County Board Chairman Larry Minard.

Mayor Gluba came up with the idea for the letter, which he said was written by city administrator Craig Malin.

"We write to solicit your collaboration to add 8,500 jobs to Illinois and Iowa," the letter said. "As you are aware, Boeing is soliciting proposals for a manufacturing plant for their 777X airliner.

"A number of states are vying for this opportunity, with Missouri convening a special session of its legislature to put their best foot forward.

"This is a truly extraordinary opportunity, and calls for truly extraordinary action. As the mayors and county board chairs of a bi-state region with exceptional manufacturing and logistics resources, we ask you both to do something extraordinary; we ask that you work together to submit a bi-state proposal to Boeing."

The letter states that Quad-Cities' assets include two airports, rail, water and interstate transportation, "along with the economic development toolboxes of two states, two counties and five cities.

"Our bi-state region brings the home state of Boeing headquarters (Illinois) and an AAA bond rated state (Iowa) jointly to the competition. In addition, a principal supplier of Boeing, Alcoa, is added to the mix, along with a regional workforce with cutting edge skills and a long history of world class manufacturing."

Mayor Gluba said Tuesday the proposal is, "clearly a long shot, but it's 8,500 jobs. And, these don't come along very often.

"We have many of the amenities they're (Boeing) asking for. I would think we could beat any other state in the country."

Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman, said in an e-mail Tuesday that Boeing has started notifying states of their status in the 777X site selection process.

"We are not identifying any of those locations," Mr. Alder said. "We received proposals from 22 states identifying 54 potential sites. That list is now being narrowed. A final decision is expected in early 2014."

Illinois is among those 22 states that have submitted a proposal, according to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesman David Roeder.

"We (Illinois) did submit a proposal to Boeing and we think it's a pretty compelling one that they're going to want to look hard at," Mr. Roeder said Tuesday. "Due to a confidentiality agreement with Boeing, we've agreed not to share any details.

"We've been told that Boeing is moving rather quickly on this and wants to winnow down the field to perhaps a few by early next year. They could make a decision two or three months after that."

Mr. Roeder said he could not comment on recommended Illinois sites, and wouldn't confirm or deny whether the Quad-Cities is one of those sites listed in DCEO's proposal to Boeing.

"Basically, they're (Boeing) looking for about 300 acres adjacent to an airport," Mr. Roeder said. "They want a 9,000-foot runway for big jets to land and take off."

Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for Gov. Quinn, said the governor had not yet received the Bi-State Regional Commission letter.

Colin Milligan, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, said Tuesday that the Congresswoman believes, "our workers are the best in the world and if given the chance by Boeing or any other company, can out-compete workers anywhere."


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)