Reporting for Carolina Journal, Don Carrington follows up on what happened to the deal with Spirit AeroSystems at the Global TransPark.
When Gov. Mike Easley announced in May 2008 that Wichita, Kan.-based Spirit AeroSystems would open an aircraft component manufacturing plant at the Global TransPark in Kinston, he said the company would create 1,031 jobs within six years, but as of December 2014 the company employed only 375 people.
Spirit has failed to meet its targets even though state and local officials lured the company to North Carolina with a package of financial incentives that, according to an analysis by Triangle Business Journal, could exceed $240 million. TBJ said the Spirit deal ranked just behind the largest incentive deal in state history — $260 million in incentives for the Google data center in Lenoir. The largest component of the Spirit package was a $100 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the nonprofit grant-making agency that handles North Carolina’s tobacco settlement funds. Spirit also received Job Development Investment Grant and One North Carolina Fund awards from the state.
In addition, state officials built a six-mile-long railroad spur line connecting the Spirit plant to a main rail line, saying the $24 million project was essential to closing the deal with Spirit. Even so, the company hasn’t used the rail spur, saying it was less expensive to transport components from the port at Morehead City to the GTP by truck.
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