Tri States Public Radio Staff
New Factory to be Built Elsewhere
Wed February 8, 2012
CAT Turns Back on Illinois
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
Thanks in part to the Illinois Associated Press