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LANSING, MI-Boeing Co. is looking to build a $900 million airplane manufacturing plant, and Michigan is responding.The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has sent out inquiries to eight communities to find out if the areas meet the criteria set by the aircraft builder.

The company wants to start building the new 7E7 passenger plane, which will be a little smaller than its current 747 jet. The company is looking for a location to begin production.

Jennifer Owens of the MEDC told GlobeSt.com that the communities were selected based on the criteria Boeing has set out. Specifically, the company needs close access to a 10,000-foot runway, nearby land of about 400 to 600 acres, access to rail and a deep water port, she said.”The communities have until Friday to turn in the criteria checklists,” said Owens. “I’m sure some won’t make it because they don’t have all that’s required.”

Owens also said the MEDC will then select the top two or three sites and turn them into Boeing on June 20.The project would bring about 1,200 jobs to the selected area, according to Owens. Moreover, the scope of the project has attracted the attention of Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“The governor has been really supportive of our efforts. I think if it comes down to our selection, she will be campaigning for this project,” Owens said.

The Michigan sites have not been named, Owens said, though Willow Run in Ypsilanti has come out publicly about its interest.”Willow Run has at least two of the main criteria, including about 1,000 acres of nearby land,” Owens said. “I think it’s likely that Willow Run will be one of the sites that we promote to the company.”

She said she knows that Boeing is also looking at other states, such as Kansas, Indiana and Washington.To make the deal sweet, Michigan will likely offer tax incentives, including infrastructure assistance and job training, to get the facility. “The state could also look into making the area a Renaissance Zone,” Owens said. Taxes are usually lowered or eliminated for these zones.

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