State leaders: VW expansion good for Tenn.

State and local leaders, along with international businessmen from Germany, met in Chattanooga Tuesday to celebrate Volkswagen's expansion.

On Monday, VW announced it will soon start production on the CrossBlue SUV at its Chattanooga plant.

Those involved in the deal now expect the expansion will bring 2,000 jobs to the area. Already, 2,700 people are employed at the plant. State leaders believe the expansion will send a positive ripple effect throughout the rest of the state, too.

"The fact that you would make two decisions to do this here's an enormous complement to us," said Senator Lamar Alexander. "We recognize the significance of it, and we want you to prosper. And we'll do whatever we can, that we legally can, to help you do so!"

In Roane County, Volkswagen has a parts and distribution plant. After learning about the Chattanooga expansion Monday, Roane County workers and community leaders were excited to see the greater impact.

Governor Bill Haslam agreed.

"Auto manufacturing attracts a lot of suppliers," Haslam said. "This will mean this will attract even more than the [recent] addition, because now we can attract people maybe we couldn't have before."

In addition to the plan expansion, Volkswagen announced it plans to add a research and development facility for for the company. The governor said it would be the first in this region.

"We've become known for manufacturing cars," Haslam said. "It's great that they're letting us – that we also have the opportunity to be involved in the research and development piece as well."

According to Haslam and Chattanooga leaders, Volkswagen will get about $230 million in incentives. About $165 million comes in state tax breaks, with another $12 million for training. Local governments in Hamilton County have offered $52.5 million in incentives.


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