Kansas joins multi-state bidding war for Boeing 777x work

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials said Wednesday they were optimistic that an economic incentive package geared at landing a Boeing contract to build the aviation giant's 777X commercial aircraft will pay off.

The state joined the multi-state competition - including its neighbor Missouri - to entice Boeing to build the next generation of its successful commercial jet after a machinists union in Washington state in November rejected contract concessions aimed at keeping the project in the Pacific Northwest.

South Carolina, Alabama and Washington state also are known to be vying for the contract.

Kansas Department of Commerce spokesman Dan Lara said Wednesday the agency's staff was working on completing the package, and declined to disclose details. He said Boeing reached out to Kansas and other states to bid on the work after the Washington developments.

"I think we are very confident that we will put together a very competitive proposal," Lara said.

The Kansas package would likely span several years and be worth tens of millions to Boeing through credits and other financial incentives.

In Missouri, legislators are in a special session geared to approve a financial package worth up to $1.7 billion. However, Kansas is relying on existing economic incentive programs related to job training, workforce development and provisions that could allow the expensing of new equipment purchases over several years.

Gov. Sam Brownback has said that Kansas would make a run at landing the contract, which could result in between 7,000 and 10,000 new aviation jobs in the Wichita area.

Lara said Kansas officials hope to bring the jobs to Wichita, an area that has been greatly affected by aviation industry layoffs over the past decade.

"It would bring us back to where we've been before," Lara said.

Brownback told reporters in mid-November: "We're going to take a shot at it. I don't know if we'll be able to get anywhere with it."