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WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007
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Shoals area poised to get 'mega project'

FLORENCE (AP) — Gov. Bob Riley plans to announce a major new industry Wednesday that is expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the Shoals area.

The governor’s office said the new “mega project” will be announced at a news conference at the Shoals Conference Center in Florence.

Administration officials aren’t commenting publicly on the project beyond a news release on the planned announcement. But the TimesDaily reported Tuesday that a company plans to build railroad cars at a large plant in Colbert County near Tuscumbia and will employ at least 1,500 workers.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying the company will be part of National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario, but will operate under a different name. National Steel Car has operated in Canada since 1912.

According to economic officials at the University of North Alabama, the project’s economic impact could be more than $200 million a year.

The paper reported that other elected officials would likely join Riley for the announcement, including state legislators, as well as U.S. Rep Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville., and possibly both U.S. senators.

Kerry Gatlin, dean of the College of Business at UNA, said its unclear how many additional businesses will be created to support the operation.

“There may be more jobs created outside the plant because of the plant itself,” he said. “This has the potential to be a real big hit for our local economy.”

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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