NASHVILLE -- The State Building Commission on Thursday tentatively approved an additional $36.1 million in taxpayer funds to help Wacker Chemical carry out a planned expansion of its polycrystalline silicon plant near Cleveland, Tenn.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Senate speaker and Building Commission chairman, said final approval is subject to state Comptroller Justin Wilson's examination of the contract and discussions with officials in Gov. Bill Haslam's administration.
"It should be done relatively quickly," Ramsey said.
The funding to help the German solar equipment maker was approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. The Building Commission approved $29.4 million in general obligation bonds and $5.2 million in cash to provide assistance on the ongoing site work on part of Wacker's 550-acre site near the Hiwassee Industrial Park in Bradley County.
Another $1.5 million will come from a FastTrack grant from the state's Department of Economic and Community Development, said Herb Slattery, Haslam's legal counsel.
The money is going to assist Wacker, which is expanding its original $1 billion facility by an additional half billion dollars. The plant will produce polycrystalline silicon used in solar arrays.
The state previously had committed $64.2 million in grants and training assistance for the original plant.
The total state commitment now grows to $100.3 million.
More than the 650 jobs are planned when the plant is finished in late 2013.
State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, said he and others in Bradley County are "thrilled the commission has voted in favor of these funds today and are confident things will continue to move forward for jobs in Tennessee."
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...