DeKalb and Rochelle may be in the running for a massive new auto manufacturing plant. Toyota and Mazda announced they are teaming up to build a $1.5 billion factory in the U.S. but didn’t specify the site.
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, says he knows state and local economic-development officials are working on a code-named project that meets the same specifications of the Toyota/Mazda plan.
Demmer says he’s not surprised that DeKalb and Rochelle are contenders. He said both of the cities within his legislative district have what a manufacturer of that size needs.
"You need a lot of land," he said. "You need access to rail lines, you need access to highways and, really importantly, too, you need access to a high-quality workforce."
Demmer said his role is to support the project by guiding legislation and facilitating conversations.
"I've been talking with both local and state officials about what we can do to best support this effort," he said. "We've been working in the legislature on some plans -- things like renewing the Edge Tax Credits -- things that would give more tools to our economic development professionals as they try to recruit these businesses."
Eleven states are competing for the Toyota/Mazda plant, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s expected to employ as many as four thousand people.