Lawmakers trying to save NUMMI plant

July 15, 2009 6:52:55 PM PDT
Someone in Sacramento has finally noticed that California is very close to losing its only car plant.

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While Toyota is deciding what to do with Fremont's NUMMI facility now that GM has pulled out of the joint venture, an effort to save it is getting underway at the state Capitol.

Emergency legislation is being hammered out in Sacramento to save jobs at NUMMI and keep the plant operating in Fremont. it would give the governor power to offer Toyota a range of financial incentives.

"It's in special session because it's an urgent matter. Bi-partisan support to do a series of tax credits to keep the factory open in Fremont," said Assm. Alberto Torrico D-Freemont.

We were the first to tell Fremont's mayor about the last minute efforts.

"21:22 I certainly would support anything that would save jobs and maybe keep them here," said Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman.

The NUMMI plant employees 4,700 workers, most of them make about $27 an hour working on the assembly line.

Ironically, NUMMI is on a scheduled work furlough this week and the parking lot is empty. If it became permanent, the owner of the nearby Saki Spin a, yarn restaurant says he would lose about 15-20 percent of his business and in this economy that would be a devastating blow.

"It's been a struggle and when I heard the bad news about NUMMI shutting down, that was like a double whammy you know there's only so much you can take in business," said restaurant owner Saki Kavouniaris.

Many in Fremont say the best they can hope for is a slow pullout by Toyota. That would give the city time to develop a master plan for the valuable land in and around NUMMI. Jack Balch has been developing East Bay property for 30 years.

"It could be something like Santana Row, you could put a mixed use in there you have great access to both 680 and 880," said Balch.

The emergency legislation will be unveiled on Thursday. Toyota has said it would make a announcement about NUMMI's future by the end of the month.

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