Missouri governor calls special session in bid for Boeing 777x

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri has called a special session of his state's legislature to help Missouri win production of Boeing's next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X.

The legislative special session will convene at 4 p.m. on Monday.

The Boeing Co. last week sent letters to more than a dozen sites, including Missouri, inviting them to submit proposals for building the 777x, which is expected to generate thousands of jobs wherever it is built.

The letters were sent out after the Machinists Union in Washington state rejected a contract extension proposal that would have guaranteed that the planes would be built in the Puget Sound region.

Responses to Boeing's request for bids are due by Dec. 10, and quick legislative action is necessary in order for Missouri to put forward a competitive proposal, Nixon said.

"Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing - and that's why I am committed to competing for and winning this project," said Gov. Nixon.

"In order to put forward a competitive proposal on this very aggressive timeline, decisive legislative action is required (to) accommodate an aerospace project on this scale," he added.

Nixon said Missuri's proposal will seek to put forward a competitive proposal by addressing Boeing's critical needs in worker training, infrastructure development and job creation incentives.

Nixon is asking the state's legislature, known as the General Assembly, to pass legislation adding additional capacity of up to $150 million annually for large-scale aerospace projects under Missouri's existing economic development programs.

Nixon also is meeting with area community colleges about a crash program to train and certify thousands of additional graduates in aerospace and advanced manufacturing areas to grow a pipeline of highly-skilled workers for the 777x project and others in this aerospace sector.

Boeing already employs about 15,000 people in Missouri, including thousands of machinists in the St. Louis region.

Any incentives Missouri offers could face stiff competition. Officials in Alabama, California, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are among those who have discussed trying to entice the company.