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Tesla Chooses Site East Of Austin For New $1 Billion Factory

Tesla's Cybertruck model.
Tesla's Cybertruck model.

Tesla’s new $1 billion electric vehicle factory will be built just east of Austin, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced Wednesday.

The factory will be constructed on 2,100 acres off State Highway 130 in southeastern Travis County. Tesla will use the site to make its new pickup trucks and semi-trucks, along with its Model 3 and Y vehicles for the Eastern U.S.

“It’s right on the Colorado River, so we’re actually going to have a boardwalk, a hiking-biking trail. It’s going to basically be an ecological paradise,” Musk said on a call with investors where he made the announcement. “Birds in the trees, butterflies, fish in the stream and it will be open to the public, as well.”

Musk said on the call that initial construction work is already underway.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement shortly after the news broke, saying the facility will create at least 5,000 new jobs.

“Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the world, and we are proud to welcome its team to the State of Texas,” Abbott said.

Tesla representatives have spent the last few months securing property tax breaks from Del Valle Independent School District and Travis County. Del Valle ISD passed an abatement of nearly $50 million over 10 years on July 9. Travis County approved a program for the company to be rebated as much as $14 million in property taxes over 10 years.

Even with the breaks, both the county and school district would receive more tax revenue from the Tesla development than the cement plant and fields that currently occupy the space.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the city will benefit from Tesla’s decision to pick this location.

“It gives us three things we need in east Austin,” Adler said in a statement. “It gives us thousands of good wage jobs that don’t need a 4-year degree. Its factory will be better for people and the planet. It’s an important economic boost in east Austin, especially as we fight the economic effects of the [coronavirus].”

The eastern Travis County site requires Tesla to buy several properties. They are currently occupied by a cement plant and aggregate mine, along with adjoining undeveloped fields.

The plant and mine create some ecological hurdles for the company.

“Despite all of the costs associated with this particular site, despite the environmental issues that exist on the site, it has risen to the top because of you all and because of the clear passion that you have for your community,” Rohan Patel, Tesla’s director of policy and business development, told the Del Valle school board two weeks ago.

Marisa Charpentier contributed to this report.

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