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States continue to vie for Boeing's 777-x project - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

States continue to vie for Boeing's 777-x project

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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -

In the last 24 hours, South Carolina's chances of landing more than 10,000 new Boeing jobs has improved.

Early Thursday morning, the machinists union rejected a deal that would have kept the design and development of the 777-x in Washington state.

Now, it is anyone's game and South Carolina state and local leaders are ready to play.

"Right now we seem to be the underdog, everybody thinks that we're not in this," said Elliott Summey, Vice Chairman of Charleston County Council. "For five movies Rocky was the underdog too, ya know? And, he always wins."

"I think the chances are better than people are thinking," State Rep. Chip Limehouse, R.

South Carolina Vice President of Boeing, Jack Jones, didn't rule out the state's chances of getting the 777-x project. At Tuesday's groundbreaking of a new propulsion facility in North Charleston, he spoke about the topic.

"We publicly announced that we were going to design some 777-x engineering here. There has been no determination of what that engineering with be yet. So, we're still waiting to hear and the program will decide that once the program launches more formally," said Jones

There's a lot of competition for this project. There are reports that Utah, Alabama, California and Japan are all being considered.

"If you look at the top three and analyze them - Long Beach, they have labor problems. Other areas have never built an airplane before," said Limehouse. "We build airplanes in South Carolina, and they fly. So, I think we have a big advantage here.

In 2009, a favorable incentives package is part of why Boeing came to South Carolina and Rep. Limehouse says the next package will be significant as well.

"The first package was over a half a billion dollars...so it is very sizable. We'll have to go back through the process with the legislature and budget control board and make sure that we're able to offer these incentives," said Limehouse.

Summey is working with the Department of Commerce, but when it comes to just how much Charleston County is willing to offer - he is keeping it under wraps.

"I can't tell you that we are actively pursuing it. I cant really go into detail," said Summey.

Limehouse says they haven't made Boeing an offer yet because they're waiting to hear more specifics about what Boeing wants. He says they're also waiting to see what other states offer before they make any counter.

Limehouse and Summey added that if South Carolina is not able to land the 777-x project, they're confident more of Boeing's business will be coming to the Lowcountry in the future.

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