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GREENSBURG, IN-American Honda Motor Co. has chosen a 1,700-acre site here in Decatur County for construction of a $550-million automobile plant. With a $41.5-million incentive package and a state investment of about $44 million in infrastructure improvements, this location beat out other prospective sites in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall with completion planned for fall 2008. It will employ 2,000 and have capacity to produce 200,000 vehicles. This will be the Torrance, CA-based affiliate of Tokyo-based Honda Motor Corp.’s sixth auto plant and 14th factory in North America.

The site along Interstate 74 is 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. “It is an ideal location in the Midwest both for our network of parts suppliers and as a central location for all of our customers across the country,” says Koichi Kondo, president of American Honda Motors and COO of its North American operations, in a statement.

Honda “will make a significant commitment to limit the environmental impact,” according to the statement. It notes that all North American Honda plants met ISO international environmental management standards, except for a transmission plant in Georgia, which is now working toward certification. A goal of the Indiana plant, management says, is to be a “zero waste to landfill” factory. Additional details about the facility were not available at deadline.

The incentive package to lure the plant here included up to $22 million in tax credits, $1.5 million in job training assistance, and up to $18 million in property tax abatements. In addition, the state is investing $44 million in road, water and wastewater infrastructure at the site. According to the office of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, at an additional cost of approximately $12 million, the state is also “expediting a long-sought interchange upgrade on I-74, along with additional water, wastewater and other road upgrades” to accommodate future growth in the region.”

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