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Top News Links: Thursday, January 11

Plant announcement boosts state’s automotive grip

With the announcement of Toyota and Mazda planning to build a new final assembly plant in Huntsville, the state of Alabama is flexing its muscle and influence in the U.S. auto industry. The plant, which will employ 4,000 workers and crank out up to 300,000 vehicles annually, is scheduled to open in 2021. Once that happens, Alabama could become the fourth-biggest state in the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing new vehicles. It's currently tied for fifth, with Tennessee. – CNBC

It’s bad when you bid $1.5 billion and lose

North Carolina put $1.5 billion on the table, but it wasn’t enough to bring the state its first auto assembly plant. On Wednesday, Toyota and Mazda officials said they had chosen Huntsville, Ala., as the site for their jobs-rich auto plant. The decision stunned and disappointed those who have been trying for five months to bring the plant to Randolph County. – News Observer

State’s incentive package for plant about $380 million

The state of Alabama will provide about $380 million in incentives for the Toyota and Mazda plant coming to Huntsville. That does not include donation of the site of the plant and other incentives from local governments in or near Huntsville and Limestone County, where the companies will build the $1.6 billion plant. The local government incentives are not yet final, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield says. – AL.com

Huntsville credits past failure for this time’s win

Wednesday's euphoria for Huntsville over landing the $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda plant began with failure. It began almost a decade ago when city officials were pursuing the Volkswagen plant that eventually took its $1 billion plant with 2,000 jobs to Chattanooga. "When Volkswagen came, we weren't ready," Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Wednesday night. – AL.com

South Alabama dangled its own megasite

North Alabama wasn't the only region in the state competing for the coveted $1.6 billion Toyota and Mazda factory. South Alabama offered its own ready-for-development megasite. Now, officials in Baldwin County are likening their 3,000-acre megasite in Bay Minette to University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: A back-up waiting for an opportunity to shine. – AL.com

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