Now that the news is official, local and state officials are talking publicly about the location of a new $1.6 billion automotive plant for Toyota and Mazda to produce automobiles beginning in 2021.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday the partnership would expand innovative automotive manufacturing in Alabama.
“Their decision to locate this new facility in Huntsville is a testament to the talented workforce in our state," Ivey said. "We are proud that this partnership puts Alabama on the forefront of technology in this dynamic global industry.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the announcement puts Huntsville at the top as an industry leader producing vehicles for the nation.
"With this announcement, our world changes overnight,” Battle said. “Toyota and Mazda, two of the world’s most innovative automakers, have created a legacy project that will provide jobs for decades to come for Huntsville and Alabama."
Limestone County Schools Superintendent Tom Sisk praised Huntsville and Limestone County officials for their work in bringing the plant to the area, and said it's time to "roll up our sleeves and get the job done.
"Because we have been a part of the process from the beginning, our school system has been working diligently behind the scenes to develop a series of plans that will be presented to the school board for consideration," Sisk said in a statement. "These plans will address contingencies for anticipated growth, and expanded academic offerings for our students and others to prepare to meet the needs of this economic expansion."
Republican Alabama U.S. Senator Richard Shelby also reacted to the major announcement, saying Alabama's workforce played a role in securing the plant.
“I am extremely proud that Huntsville was selected by Toyota and Mazda for the joint auto production plant. This facility will create thousands of jobs and strengthen economic growth throughout our state and region. Alabama has a proven track record of creating an environment where world-class manufacturing operations thrive. Today’s announcement speaks volumes about the capabilities and effectiveness of our state’s skilled workforce, highlighting the continued truth that Alabama is open for business.”
Republican U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks, who represents Limestone County, says Alabama is gaining momentum nationally in the automotive sector.
“Toyota and Mazda’s decision to locate in Limestone County is great news for Alabama and the Tennessee Valley! I’m thankful Alabama was selected despite fierce competition from other states vying for this plant. Toyota and Mazda’s decision validates what many of us in Alabama already know. Alabama is not only America’s #1 football state, we are also on a path to be America’s #1 automotive production state. That is a strong testament to the quality of the location, resources, people and government leadership that Alabama offers. The Tennessee Valley did not win the Toyota and Mazda competition overnight. Rather, this victory is the culmination of decades of hard work and leadership offered by local, state and federal officials who have consistently worked together to make the Tennessee Valley a great place to live and work, a place that encourages companies like Polaris, Remington, and now Toyota and Mazda, to rank the Tennessee Valley #1 in America.”
Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong praises the automotive industry for putting faith in Alabama.
“Today’s monumental announcement by President Akio Toyoda of the Toyota Corporation and President and CEO Masamichi Kogai of the Mazda Corporation is not a new commitment, but a continued commitment with proven world leaders in automotive ingenuity to the State of Alabama and our people. This project once again demonstrates that our regional, advanced manufacturing workforce is perfectly positioned for today and future generations.”