© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Georgia says $1.5 billion incentive package lured Rivian's second plant

An exterior rendering of Rivian's future Georgia manufacturing campus. This rendering, provided by Rivian, shows a view of the front of the plant building, along with planned greenspaces filled with native plants.
An exterior rendering of Rivian's future Georgia manufacturing campus. This rendering, provided by Rivian, shows a view of the front of the plant building, along with planned greenspaces filled with native plants.

The economic incentives package that lured Rivian’s second plant to Georgia was finally made public Monday – and its size dwarfs the tax breaks that put the company’s first plant in Normal.

The electric automaker will receive $1.5 billion in total incentives to build the $5 billion plant in Georgia, east of Atlanta, and hire 7,500 people, local and state officials announced Monday. It was the first detailed look at Georgia’s Rivian incentives since the plant was announced in December. Details were only released Monday after the deal was done – with all parties signing on.

“Rivian is a historic win for Georgia, not only putting our great state at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, but also a significant win for the four-county (Joint Development Authority, where the plant will be located). We are thrilled to be able to now share more of the incredible benefits this project is bringing to the region and couldn’t be prouder of the positive effects this project will have on families, schools, and communities. Rivian will not only employ thousands of Georgians with well-paying jobs of the future, but they will be a welcome new addition to Georgia’s business community,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a statement.

The $1.5 billion package includes state discretionary spending, tax credits, and local incentives, including:

  • $111 million to buy the land (nearly 2,000 acres) for the plant, including wetlands permitting and mitigation and other site-prep work.
  • $51.5 million for roadwork, including a new interstate interchange
  • $62.5 million for a new workforce training center
  • Two dedicated state official liaisons, for six years

By comparison, McLean County taxpayers made a much smaller investment to land Rivian five years ago, though back then the stealthy startup was far from a household name.
Ultimately, Rivian will receive over $2 million in local property tax breaks in McLean County over the course of the agreement, tax and abatement records show. Rivian was also expected to get up to $49 million in state of Illinois EDGE tax credits, though the status of those credits is unclear. (Rivian was also promised a $1 million grant from the Town of Normal but ultimately declined it.)

Rivian is now McLean County’s second-largest employer and a key economic driver locally.

Likewise, officials in Georgia claim that the $1.5 billion incentive package will be far outweighed by $7.3 billion in direct, indirect and “induced” economic benefit. At full employment, for example, Georgia officials say the average payroll at Rivian for one year will be $420 million, and over 25 years will result in a total of $10.5 billion.

The Normal tax breaks were tied to performance – and so is Georgia’s larger package.

Georgia officials say the 25-year “clawback” period is among the strongest the state has ever secured.

“Rivian has until the end of 2028 to meet 7,500 jobs and make $5 billion in capital investment. It must then maintain these figures through 2047. For each year from 2029 through 2047 that Rivian’s combined job and investment performance is below 80% of their commitments, then Rivian will be required to make a pro-rata repayment of the total JDA property, state property and state land improvements, and estimated real and personal property tax savings,” officials said Monday.

Rivian has faced resistance to its move into Georgia, including from residents in the rural area where the plant would be located. Some have raised concerns about environmental impact.

Georgia officials said Monday that the new agreement “ensures that the project follows locally required standards pertaining to water quality, groundwater recharge and runoff, and local ordinances.” Over 50% of the site’s acreage will remain unpaved, or “left permeable,” according to Rivian.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
Related Content