Travis County, Texas officials, are currently in the process of working out the details of an incentive deal with Tesla. The incentives are geared toward bringing the electric automaker’s next production facility to the city of Austin.
The Travis County Commissioners Court is reportedly meeting to discuss potential incentives later today, June 16, The Statesman reported. The terms of the incentives will be discussed during the meeting, and a vote from members of the Commissioners Court will be held in the coming weeks.
The specific details of the possible incentive package for Tesla have not been disclosed publicly, and members of the Court have not commented on the matter as of writing.
Tuesday’s Commissioner’s Court agenda contains an item that is recognized as “consider and take appropriate action on a project under Travis County Code Chapter 28.” Chapter 28 of the Travis County Code talks about incentives for local economic development, which could refer to the reports of Tesla’s potential incentive package.
Sources close to the situation believe that Agenda Item 21 is related to Tesla’s incentive package. The United Auto Workers (UAW) director of public relations, Brian Rothenberg, believes “that Item 21 on the agenda is related to Tesla.” The UAW is a union for employees of automakers.
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada also believes that Item 21 is directly related to Tesla’s possible presence in the area. “You have to look strongly at the track record of a company and their commitment not just to public dollars, but to the community investment and actual return on jobs created,” she said. “Tesla has a track record of collecting public subsidies from several states but not delivering on their promises. That is why it is important this time for Tesla to commit to community assurances for Travis County before getting subsidies.”
It has been rumored that Tesla is eyeing either Austin, Texas, or Tulsa, Oklahoma, for its next production facility. While it is widely considered that Austin is an overwhelming favorite due to previous comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tulsa is pushing hard to convince the electric automaker it would be a good fit for the company’s next production facility.
Either location is ideal for Tesla’s upcoming plans, which include the production of the highly-anticipated Cybertruck and the recently released Model Y crossover. Musk has stated that he wanted the company’s next U.S. facility to be in the central portion of the country, which would alleviate East Coast customers from extended delivery periods.
Musk and company CFO Zachary Kirkhorn also indicated during the Q1 2020 Earnings Call that the next production facility the company builds would be the largest thus far. “I’ll also add that our Gigas have gotten bigger,” Kirkhorn said. Musk added, “It could arguably — it could start being called Tera.”
Kirkhorn expanded on the idea of more extensive production facilities as well. “Yes, with multiple products as well. And so the absolute number of Giga factories, we may ultimately build might be less, but each one is larger,” he said. “And that’s under our belief that just significant efficiencies by having as much as possible, and similar product lines under the same roof, and as much vertical integration as possible all in one facility.”
At least 10,000 employees are expected to work at the new facility based on the fact that it will be larger than the Fremont factory. If Tesla does choose the Lone Star State, it would be a “great win for Texas and Austin,” economist Angelos Angelou stated.