UPDATE: This story has been getting a lot of play in comments, so I thought I’d post it.
Honda has scheduled a press conference Wednesday to announce that Indiana has been chosen as the site for its new North American assembly plant, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Illinois, Indiana and Ohio had been the finalists for the $400 million facility, which will employ 1,500 workers and produce 200,000 cars annually starting in 2008. It will be Honda’s sixth plant in North America.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich flew back from Washington Tuesday to meet with Honda officials, hoping to lure the plant to Illinois. He had been briefing members of the Illinois congressional delegation on the status of talks with the carmaker.
Instead, it is believed Blagojevich came home to learn that the automaker did not choose a site in Fithian, a town of 500 near Danville. Sources familiar with the negotiations said Japanese automakers out of courtesy notify the winning state and those that lost at the same time.
Lynn Sweet claims that the guv’s DC visit didn’t go all that well.
Gov. Blagojevich was in Washington on Tuesday. Let me first summarize the developments or rather, the debacle.
*Blagojevich stiffed Mayor Daley and Sen. Dick Durbin by originally skipping a joint press conference with the two other top Illinois Democrats, only to scamper to it in retreat after his chief of staff, John Harris, and an aide could not shake reporters who had questions for the governor.
*The governor said the proposed Prairie Parkway was not a priority for him even though it was listed as a transportation priority in the official joint city-state federal initiative document being handed out Tuesday signed by Daley and Blagojevich. The document was released at the news conference at the exact time Blagojevich, a few dozen yards away, was downplaying his interest in the road. […]
Blagojevich and Daley threw a lunch Tuesday (in Durbin’s offices) for the 21-member Illinois delegation — only 10 lawmakers bothered to show — to review the joint city-state agenda.
And Topinka held a press conference to announce that she would announce her economic development proposals next month. She also took another swipe at the guv.
For example, Topinka said Tuesday that federal labor statistics showed that Illinois lost 3,800 jobs in May. Earlier this month, Blagojevich touted state and federal figures that showed that Illinois in April led the nation in monthly job growth.
Blagojevich spokesman Gerardo Cardenas said the state’s unemployment rate also dropped to 4.6 percent in May â€“ in line with the national rate â€“ from 5.1 percent in April.