As South Carolina vies with Georgia for Volvo’s first U.S. plant, Gov. Nikki Haley and state Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt flew to New Jersey Wednesday, site of the carmaker’s North American headquarters – but they arrived after officials from the Peach State.
Haley’s and Hitt’s offices said the S.C. leaders took the state planes on an economic-development trip. The offices did not provide any more details.
Both state planes flew to Teterboro Airport on Wednesday, according to tracking website FlightAware. Teterboro Airport is about a half-hour south of Volvo’s headquarters in Rockleigh, N.J.
Haley returned to South Carolina later Wednesday. The governor will be back in her office Thursday, her office said.
Volvo reportedly has narrowed its search to South Carolina and Georgia to build a $500 million plant that eventually could employ up to 4,000 workers. Typically, manufacturers pit states against each other to secure incentive packages, including tax credits for jobs created, free land and other perks.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the two states are competitive on many, many projects. He said he and Haley are good friends. “We’re accustomed to the rough-and-tumble that’s associated with trying to lure people coming to this state,” Deal said.
Deal and his top aide made the same journey to New Jersey as Haley on Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
An unknown number of senior Georgia Department of Economic Development officials traveled to the New Jersey and metropolitan New York City area in the past seven days. Stefanie Paupeck Harper, a spokeswoman for the department, declined to comment about the trip, citing agency policy about active recruitment projects.
South Carolina can borrow up to $120 million in economic-development bonds as one option to lure Volvo, according to the S.C. Treasurer’s Office.
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657. Greg Bluestein and Scott Trubey of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed.