Indiana GM plant in running for $46M expansion-WEB ONLY

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General Motors’ plant in Fort Wayne is in the running for a proposed $46 million expansion even as the automaker closes plants as part of its reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws.

GM is seeking a 10-year tax break on $27 million in equipment needed for the expansion, which would “furnish and install machinery, equipment and special tooling necessary to support heavy-duty extended cab truck production,” according to papers filed with the Allen County Council. Light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks already are made at the plant.

The council will meet Thursday to consider the tax break.

Plant spokeswoman Alicia Kocher said approval of incentives “would make the case for this plant stronger” because GM is considering competing proposals from other plants.

The investment would help retain about 50 positions with a combined annual salary of about $2.84 million, but is not expected to create additional jobs, The News-Sentinel reported. The expansion would allow a second shift at the Fort Wayne plant to continue operating, Kocher said.

“A number of pieces still need to fall into place, but this is potentially very good news for Allen County,” county Commissioner Nelson Peters said yesterday.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the proposed expansion was related to the announced closure of a pickup truck plant in Pontiac, Mich., one of several GM has announced will close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

GM has invested more than $1 billion in the 2.7 million-square-foot plant in Fort Wayne since it opened in 1986.

United Auto Workers Local 2209 President Orval Plumlee said the possible investment could “guarantee the plant’s future for years to come and eventually create jobs in the area.”

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