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WGLT, an NPR station in central Illinois, is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

Rauner Welcomes Rivian To Central Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hopes Rivian Automotive will help boost employment in central Illinois.

Rauner joined many state and local elected officials at Rivian's opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Rauner said he's excited to see entrepreneurs like R.J. Scaringe take risks to start business in Illinois.

"But all the people of Illinois contributed to this facility," said Rauner. "They allowed for tax credits and tax incentives. All the people of Illinois helped invest and create this opportunity and it's great to see it used for the next phase of innovation."

The state's incentive package is based on performance benchmarks, as are those given to Rivian by McLean County taxing bodies in December. The state will give the automaker $49.5 million in tax credits over 10 years for adding 1,000 jobs. The package also depends on the number of jobs created each year and the salaries of those positions. The tax breaks are administered through the state's EDGE (Economic Development for a Growing Economy) program.

Rauner said there are other counties across the state that are frustrated with regulations and "red tape." The Republican said he wants to help them out so Illinois can be one of the fastest growing states in the country.

Rivian is expected to bring in 500 jobs within it's first year of operation.

Credit Mike Miletich / WGLT
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe speaking with Governor Bruce Rauner and State Representative Dan Brady.

CEO RJ Scaringe said the Twin City's forward-moving philosophy for the future was in line with how Rivian executives view the world.

"As we were going through that process, it very quickly transitioned from us looking at this as a building full of equipment to this being our future home," said Scaringe.

Scaringe said he is ready to set roots in Central Illinois with the relationships of educational institutions to embrace science, technology, and mathematics.

Scaringe added he wants to look at the supply base and other partners that can be brought in to leverage the community.

The company plans to start production of electronic vehicles in 2019.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Mar. 8, 2017 to add details of the state incentive package.

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Mike joined GLT's staff as a student reporter in February of 2016 having worked previously as a reporter at Illinois State University's student radio station, 103.3 WZND. He acted as a director for the WZND newsroom for two years. Mike was also seen as a reporter, producer, and anchor at TV-10 News. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism in May of 2017 before starting his post-graduate career with the Public Affairs Reporting Masters Program at University of Illinois Springfield.
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