Georgia state and local governments will give Rivian Automotive $1.5 billion in incentives to build a 7,500-job, $5 billion electric vehicle plant east of Atlanta, documents show. the company and the state signed on Monday.
This would be, by far, the largest incentive package Georgia has ever offered to a company and would be the 15th largest incentive package a US state has ever awarded to a private entity according to Good Jobs First, a group critical of private business subsidies.
Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said the size of the package reflects the size of the largest industrial announcement in Georgia’s history, including a commitment that the company will meet all of the goals. of investment and employment by the end of 2028, with paid jobs on average. $56,000 per year plus benefits.
“It’s absolutely appropriate because they’re creating more jobs,” Wilson said.
Rivian, based in Irvine, Calif., is a startup that makes electric trucks and commercial delivery vans, challenging both established automakers like Ford and General Motors and electric vehicle leader Tesla. The company already produces vehicles in Normal, Illinois. Rivian hopes to innovate as early as this summer and begin production in 2024, rushing to produce 400,000 vehicles a year in Georgia as electric vehicle makers try to gain market share.
The plant has been beset by fierce local opposition, however, from residents who say development on the 2,000-acre (800-hectare) site will spoil their rural quality of life.
The site, between Social Circle and Rutledge, is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of downtown Atlanta, in an area just beyond the border of heavy suburban development.
The state took over planning and zoning for the project after opponents overwhelmed Morgan County officials. Residents have expressed concerns about possible contamination of well water, light pollution, and disruption of wildlife habitats and farmland for heavy industry. Wilson said a site plan and other documents released Monday show Rivian addressing those concerns, moving the plant’s footprint away from wetlands and agreeing to limit light pollution.
Local governments agreed to $700 million in property tax relief, though Rivian agreed to pay more than $900 million in payments in lieu of taxes over 25 years beginning in 2023.
The state would spend $200 million to purchase the site, level it, build highway improvements including a new Interstate 20 interchange, and expand utilities. The state would spend $62.5 million to build a dedicated training center and $27 million for job training.
Other major benefits include a $200 million tax credit, at $5,250 per job over five years. If Rivian did not owe so much corporate income tax, the state would instead give personal income taxes collected from workers. Georgia also estimates that Rivian would save $175 million from a sales tax exemption on machinery and $105 million from a sales tax exemption on building materials.
Kia has secured more than $450 million in incentives for its southwest Atlanta plant. Georgia has pledged $300 million in incentives to the $2.6 billion battery plant and 2,600 workers being built by SK Innovation in Commerce in Georgia, northeast of Atlanta.
Rivian currently plans two models for consumers: the R1T pickup with a base price of $67,500 and the R1S SUV, with a base price of $70,000. The truck was recently named Motor Trend’s 2022 Truck of the Year.
Amazon, which owns part of the company, ordered 100,000 delivery vans, launching Rivian into the utility vehicle business.
Rivian is brimming with cash following an $11.9 billion stock offering on Nov. 10 that took the company public, allowing it to fund the new plant.