State Rep. Cory Mason and local economic development officials wooed the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Tuesday in hopes of convincing the company to locate a new assembly facility in the city.
Racine is a longshot for new plant. Talgo has already scouted locations in Milwaukee and Janesville, and Gov. Jim Doyle said he supported the Janesville site. But the final decision is yet to be made, and Racine is at least in the conversation. (Interestingly, Talgo has worked with Bombardier, which has a plant in Sturtevant, on making trains.)
Talgo President and CEO Antonio Perez was part of the company's delegation to Racine, and the planned plant is already contracted to build two trains to run on the Amtrak Hiawatha line that runs between Milwaukee and Chicago with a stop in Sturtevant. (Here's a discussion that suggests the Talgo trains built in Wisconsin will come a steep price.)
RacinePost inquired about tagging along with Talgo's visit to Racine, but was told no media was allowed on the tour. Here's the official release from Mason's office:
State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) hosted a delegation from Spanish train manufacturer Talgo today on a Racine-area tour of potential sites for the company’s new Wisconsin’s rail car assembly facility. The delegation included Talgo’s President & CEO Antonio Perez.
Governor Doyle announced in July that the State of Wisconsin had entered into a partnership with Talgo to build and put into service two train sets. The agreement calls for the establishment of maintenance and assembly facilities in Wisconsin. Representative Mason, in partnership with Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) experts, has worked since the Governor’s July announcement to convince Talgo to consider Racine as the site for its assembly facility, a move that would bring high-quality jobs to Racine.
Today’s events were facilitated by RCEDC and began with a reception that included local elected officials, local businesses and representatives from area institutions of higher education, all of whom worked collaboratively to encourage Talgo to choose Racine.
Representative Mason commented, "I was proud and excited to be able to show Talgo all that Racine has to offer." Representative Mason, also a commissioner on the Racine Redevelopment Authority, also stated, "I was so impressed by how different representatives from across the community came together to make the best case for Racine."
Representative Mason and RCEDC officials led the Talgo delegation on a tour of possible sites for the company’s new train car assembly facility.
Representative Mason noted, "We all recognize that numerous southeastern Wisconsin communities are competing to be the site of Talgo’s new facility. Whether or not we are ultimately successful in luring Talgo to Racine, I am pleased and encouraged by the partnership and diligence demonstrated by our local officials, businesses, and community leaders in planning this tour. This cooperation and hard work will be an important component in enabling Racine to recover from our current economic challenges and to thrive in the future."