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TALLAPOOSA, GA-For a former frontier hamlet that started out in the 1830s under the less-than-imposing name of Possum Snout, this 7.4-square-mile town of 2,789 permanent residents is the envy of dozens of Georgia communities today.

The town has snared a $100-million, 247,000-sf automatic transmission-manufacturing plant that will be built by Honda Motor Co. on 300 acres, just off Interstate 20 near the Alabama border and 60 miles west of Downtown Atlanta.

The transmissions, about 300,000 per year, will be shipped to Honda’s assembly plant in Lincoln, AL which makes the Odyssey minivan and the Pilot, a sports utility vehicle. Lincoln (Pop. 4,693) is about 70 miles west of here.

Honda researched several locations before deciding on Tallapoosa, company officials say. Gov. Sonny Perdue helped Honda officials make their decision by dangling a $13.7-million economic incentives package in front of them, state officials confirm to GlobeSt.com. The incentives include tax breaks, a grant for buying the site, road improvements and staff training.

The plant is expected to have a workforce of 400 engineers, craftsmen and managers making an estimated average hourly wage of $20 per hour, Atlanta industrial consultants tell GlobeSt.com. Honda officials say the average pay scale has not been determined. The plant is scheduled to begin production by fall 2006.

For Haralson County (Pop. 26,000), the Honda plant is good news. The west Georgia county has lost thousands of textile factory jobs over the last 20 years, county officials confirm. The 2002 Census notes the median household income in Tallapoosa is $29,937 and the median household value, $71,200. New home construction building permits in 2003 averaged $113,000 per residence.

The Tallapoosa plant represents part of a $270-million investment Honda officials say they are making in the company’s North American powertrain operations.

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