In Iowa's hunt for Toyota factory, this site leads the pack

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August 24, 2017

In the hunt for a new Toyota manufacturing plant, Iowa officials submitted several potential sites for the Japanese automaker to consider. But many signs point to one eastern Iowa location.

Earlier this month, Toyota and Mazda announced plans for a giant, joint-venture factory, immediately sparking a competition among states hoping to land the $1.6 billion project, 4,000 jobs and satellite suppliers that follow auto plants.

Included in Iowa's pitch was the 1,300-acre Big Cedar Industrial Center in Cedar Rapids. State leaders believe it is large enough to house the auto manufacturing plant and a supplier park. It features shortline rail access that connects with larger rail carriers and is close to a large population base.

Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham said those factors are all crucial for an auto assembly plant. She wouldn't characterize how Big Cedar ranks among the sites her department submitted to Toyota. But it is the only one nearing certification as a mega site, a state designation for turnkey sites that are 1,000 acres or larger. 

"It's a great candidate," Durham told The Des Moines Register.

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