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State, local officials offer $1.5B to land Rivian project

J. Scott Trubey and Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Automotive News

Rivian must fulfill 80% of its jobs and investment promises by the end of 2028 and hold them through 2047, or else be subject to state claw back provisions, state documents show, with annual compliance checks. Much of the package requires Rivian invest or produce jobs before those incentives can be claimed, Wilson said.

Some of the local property tax revenue abated will be recouped by schools and local governments under a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement reached last week. Wilson said the local communities and schools will see more than $300 million in PILOT payments from Rivian over 25 years, and after that time the property will be taxed at full value.

The land where Rivian will build its plant currently generates about $80,000 in tax revenue annually. Rivian will pay increase to $1.5 million annually in PILOT fees for six years starting in 2023, increasing to $12 million in the seventh year. PILOT fees will grow to $20 million a year by 2044.

Mike Conrads, who owns a business in nearby Madison, called Rivian “a wonderful thing” for the region, provided the state can fulfill its promises to protect groundwater and build and maintain roads and other infrastructure needed to support future growth.

“One of the issues is kids grow up and there’s no place to work and they move away,” he said.

A big bet


California-based Rivian is making a big bet that Georgia can overcome an extremely tight labor market to help slake its thirst for talent. An offer letter states Rivian jobs will pay on average $56,000 a year, about 42% higher than the median manufacturing wage in Georgia.

The company will need not only automotive engineers but software engineers, information technologists and a new breed of assembly line worker with the technical chops to keep largely automated assembly lines humming.

Rivian is likely to pull workers from Augusta, metro Atlanta and even out of state. The state is also counting on the Rivian recruitment to help attract suppliers and help Georgia’s existing supplier network transition to an electrified future.

State and local officials are placing a major wager, too, by committing a trove of public resources on a startup likely to burn through billions of dollars in investor capital over the next several years.


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