Tacoma, Pierce County join Gregoire's bid for Boeing 787 line

Gov. Chris Gregoire today praised the more than 200 community, education and business leaders who signed letters sent to Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh, encouraging him to locate the company’s second 787 production line in Washington state. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy was among those who sent letters.

“We have presented a very compelling business case to The Boeing Company, and I’m immensely proud that so many leaders, from every corner of the state, representing a broad range of industries, have voiced their own encouragement to Boeing,” Gregoire said. “There is no question that Washington provides the most highly-skilled workforce, a healthy business climate and an unmatched quality of life. These letters of support back that intangible that many of us already knew — there is no place in the world more supportive of the Boeing Company than Washington state.”

Earlier this month, Gregoire released “The Business Case for Consolidating Boeing 787 Assembly in Washington,” which outlines Washington’s advantages over competing states. Labor groups, business leaders and organizations, higher education agencies and elected officials sent letters to Albaugh, encouraging him to take a close look at the report and strongly consider Washington state for expansion.

A letter was also sent by the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, and the City of Tacoma. To view a copy of the letters, including McCarthy’s letter, visit http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/boeing_letters.pdf .

“We are confident that Boeing will consider Washington’s valuable advantages when selecting the location for the second 787 line. Win or lose on this decision, Washington will be home to aerospace and Boeing’s commercial production for many, many years,” Gregoire said. “We are committed to investing in that future and are confident it is bright.”

Last week, Gregoire announced $1.5 million in Workforce Investment Act funds supporting the state’s aerospace training programs to ensure Washington workers stay on the cutting edge of aerospace technology. The funding will help develop aerospace training centers, purchase new education equipment and help streamline curriculum. At the Governor’s Aerospace Summit earlier this month in Spokane, Gregoire pledged to improve the state’s workers compensation program. Gregoire also said she would propose extending a tax incentive granted to FAA-certified repair stations to 2024. The current tax incentive is set to expire in 2011. This complements the up to $3.4 billion in incentives already enacted for the aerospace industry. And in May, Gregoire signed an executive order creating the Washington Council on Aerospace. The council is responsible for providing advice to the governor and Legislature on how Washington can improve its attractiveness to the aerospace industry. The council will also streamline aerospace training programs at the state’s community and technical colleges, as well as at four-year universities.