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FREMONT (KPIX 5) – Tesla Motors has its pick on where to build its brand new battery factory. California lawmakers are trying to win the electric car company over with incentives.
“We’re all hoping that Tesla will stay in the Golden State,” said Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Guradino worries the Golden State might have too much red, as in tape. “At the end of the day, they have to make a sound business decision that’s competitive in the marketplace,” he said.
That’s where new legislation, aimed at making California more fast and friendly to businesses such as Tesla, comes in.
“What we ought to be doing is talking about what can we do to make it happen,” said Republican State Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville.
A bill has been co-authored by Gaines and Democratic State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. It would allow California to use financial incentives, and loosen environmental and regulatory rules to fast-track factory construction.
“I think we need to be creative and think outside the box in terms of what do we need to do to retain businesses in the State of California, what do we need to do to draw new business,” Gaines said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said California is a longshot but still in the running for the $5 billion “Gigafactory,” which will create about 6,000 jobs.
Guardino said California is notoriously slow in approving big projects.
“We’ve known about solar companies that did almost the same project in California that took four to five years, and the same project in Colorado, that took eight to 12 weeks,” he said.
Guardino blames abuses of California’s environmental laws by special interest groups, but praised Sacramento’s efforts to speed things up. “Keep stringent regulations and set sound standards, but do it in a way that companies can meet it efficiently and quickly,” he said.
Musk said he won’t announce where the factory will be located until later this year. He has said that the speed at which the project can be completed is even more important to his company than any financial incentives any state can offer.
The electric car company CEO said he is also considering Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas as possible locations for the factory.