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Local

Illinois out of running for Toyota-Mazda plant

ROCHELLE – Illinois is out of the running for a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant that Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda plan to open in the U.S.

More than a dozen states have been in hot pursuit of the plant that could bring up to 4,000 jobs.

Mark Pietrowski, DeKalb County Board chairman, said Illinois was fourth on the list when Toyota-Mazda whittled it down to three.

“It doesn’t mean that we quit trying or anything,” he said. “We’ll look to the next opportunity. We need to continue to be players in these types of discussions.”

In Illinois, site selectors were looking at Rochelle and DeKalb. Rochelle had completed a request for additional information from the companies over the Labor Day weekend.

Rochelle received the news about noon Wednesday from Intersect Illinois, the nonprofit economic development corporation set up by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“I got a call from Mark Peterson, the president and CEO of Intersect Illinois, and he just said a story would be coming out soon in Crain’s that says Illinois is out of the running,” Rochelle Economic Development Director Jason Anderson said.

Peterson attributed the decision to the state’s lack of shovel-ready sites and its failure to institute a right-to-work law.

Paul Borek, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp., said advanced readiness of sites and right-to-work laws led Toyota and Mazda to key on the Southeast.

“Illinois and DeKalb competed considerably better than projected,” Borek wrote in an email. “DeKalb has an excellent site, and more large-scale manufacturing requirements are anticipated.”

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