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CAT Turns Back on Illinois

Photo from the City of Galesburg's website
CAT equipment at a City of Galesburg facility

Caterpillar has ruled Illinois  out of plans  to relocate a factory and 1,400 jobs from  Japan.

The  Peoria-based  heavy-equipment maker cited both logistical  problems  and ongoing concerns about the state's business climate.

Caterpillar laid out its decision in an e-mail to leaders in Galesburg and in Peoria County.   Those were among fewer than a dozen Illinois locations trying  to win the new plant.

Galesburg even placed a full page ad in Sunday's  Peoria Journal Star urging CAT to consider it or another community  in a five county region. Mayor Sal Garza said the ad cost the  city around $3,600.

Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said a location  will be announced by April 1.

The text of the Caterpillar e-mail:

Thank  you very much  for your interest in Caterpillar's North American small  track-type  tractor and mini hydraulic excavator facility. Caterpillar  has  certainly enjoyed a rich history in Illinois and we look forward  to  continuing that experience.

We appreciate your community's  interest in  this project and we have reviewed the information  that you have provided  to us. As you know, we have a site selection  and business modeling team  in place that has been reviewing a  comprehensive set of criteria to  determine the optimal location  for this facility. These factors include  logistics, port access,  labor markets, supplier base, and governmental  partnership opportunities. 

We have defined a very tight search area that  is primarily being  driven by logistics, port access, and proximity to our division  headquarters in Cary, North Carolina.

As a result, we  regret  to inform you that your community is not a viable option for  this  particular project.

Please understand that even if your community had the right logistics for this project, Caterpillar's previously  documented concerns about the business climate and overall fiscal  health  of the state of Illinois still would have made it unpractical  for us to  select your community for this project. Caterpillar  intends to continue  calling for long-term changes in Illinois  and to offer help to the  state as it works toward real and fundamental  reforms that will position  communities like yours to compete for  future projects.

While we  understand this news is not positive  for your community, it is our hope  that you and your leaders will  join us in our efforts to improve the  business climate in Illinois.

Again,  we are very appreciative of the interest your community has in this  project.

The North American Facility Site Selection Team

Caterpillar,  Inc.

Thanks in  part to the Illinois Associated Press


Rich is TSPR's News Director.