MARINETTE - More than a thousand jobs could be coming to the area, if alocal shipbuilder lands a contract with the U.S. Navy. The state ofWisconsin is offering $50 million in incentives, in hopes ofbringing business here.
Marinette Marine has already built one littoral combat ship, orLCS, for the US Navy. It's working on another and hopes to land acontract for at least 10 more.
"I think there have been so many people in our region working onthis project for such a long time that I'm not surprised that ourgovernor has stepped up to the plate with such a generous offer,"said Mary Johns, executive director for the Marinette MenomineeArea Chamber of Commerce.
The state is hoping to help make the contract happen by offering$50 million in incentives. The largest incentive package the stateever offered was to Mercury Marine, just last year. This is thesecond largest, and the state secretary of commerce says itswarranted.
"The long term economic impact on the state, in particular inNorthern Wisconsin you almost never see an opportunity to grow acompany to over 2,000 jobs and to support indirectly another 3,000jobs," said Aaron Olver, Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce. "Theeconomic impact over the next two decades of this project shouldMarinette Marine successfully win this project it is just going tobe massive on Wisconsin. So we want to make sure that we're doingeverything we can to make sure Wisconsin lands that contract."
A company named Austal in Alabama is also competing for thebusiness. Marinette Marine says incentives from the state arecrucial to landing the contract.
"This is absolutely a pure cost shootout with Austal in Mobile,Alabama," said Richard McCreary, president and CEO of MarinetteMarine. "And Alabama has already provided 60-some odd million ofincentives to Austal in training, in capital dollars, that sort ofthing."
The $50 million includes tax credits for buying equipment andrecruiting and training workers.
The Navy should decide if Marinette Marine gets the contractthis summer.
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