Monday, March 4, 2019

Foxconn keeps talking big, but keeps shrinking in reality

The article in the Racine Journal-Times reports on a meeting the Wisconsin DOT held to discuss the widening of County Line Road near Foxconn, and focuses in on a Mount Pleasant homeowner named Leslie Maj.
Maj was one of about 170 area residents who attended a public hearing Thursday evening at the Somers Village Hall about a widening of Highway KR from 400 feet east of Highway H to just east of Old Green Bay Road, a total area of about 2.8 miles. The DOT project would replace the existing two-lane rural road with a four-lane urban road.

As the project is currently planned, 68.9 acres of residential and agricultural land would need to be taken through eminent domain to make room for the expansion. More than two dozen property owners stand to lose land to the project, with most of the land being on the Racine County side of the highway. Additionally, four homes and one business — all in Mount Pleasant — would need to be torn down….

Maj’s house is currently about 250 feet from the highway, she said, and the DOT estimated about 200 feet of her yard would be taken for the project. But getting that number was not easy, she said, because DOT representatives have been “very, very cagey and not very transparent” about how much land would be taken.
Another Racine County resident who has already had to deal with upheaval due to Foxconn warned the others at the meeting that people who try to work out “fair value” will not act in good faith.
Kimberly Mahoney, a Mount Pleasant resident who lives in Foxconn Area 1 and fought the village’s eminent domain claim of her house, spoke and encouraged residents affected by the Highway KR project to hire attorneys.

“These people who have been hired by your village or your town or the county are pros,” Mahoney said. “They will lie to you, they will bully you, they will throw out statutes and a lot of times it’s not true.”
I’ll remind you that this Highway KR “upgrade” is part of the $134 million that Scott Walker’s Administration redirected from other highway projects in the state in late 2017. And DOT (for now) plans to plow ahead with the construction in Robbin’ Vos’s district, despite the fact that Foxconn continues to downgrade both the project and the number of people that will be working in Racine County.

Just to remind you on how much of a COMPLETE SUCKER you have to,be to think that Foxconn will ever create anything close to 13,000 jobs, let me show you yesterday's John Oliver segment on the automation of jobs. Something Foxconn proudly proclaims to be a "world leader" on.

As Oliver's piece notes, historically jobs that have been automated out of existence get replaced by new technologies, generally in more knowledge-based industries. Except that Foxconn’s big pre-election promises on new "innovation centers" outside of Racine County don't seem to be working out either.

Take this story from Green Bay, where an article from the Press-Gazette told us last week, the plans for Foxconn's satellite office are still up in the air.
A Foxconn project manager said the technology company doesn't know when it will begin work on its downtown Green Bay innovation center.

C.P. "Tank" Murdoch, a senior project manager with Foxconn Technology Group, told a Wisconsin Technology Council audience Thursday it would be a mistake to provide a date on which contractors will begin work on the second floor of the Watermark building….

The company announced plans in June to buy the six-story riverfront building and open an innovation center that would develop next-generation uses for a broad range of Foxconn's technology. It solicited bids to design and build out the second floor of the building in fall, prior to completing its purchase of the property for $9 million in November.

The second-floor space would give the company room for about 100 employees, Murdoch said. Foxconn previously said it expects to create 200 jobs over time at each of the three innovation centers — in Green Bay, Eau Claire and Milwaukee — that would support its main campus in the Racine-Mount Pleasant area.
Funny how the reality of Foxconn’s “major investment” is ending up to be quite a bit less than what the big headlines and photo ops told us. And you can bet this won’t be the last time that new details emerge that make another person realize that this Fox-con isn’t close to what it was cracked up to be.

Except for the subsidies and infrastructure that go into this boondoggle. That isn’t changing much at all, you’ll notice. And since it only takes 520 TOTAL jobs at the of this year for Foxconn to get 2 years of jobs incentives from Wisconsin taxpayers, the price will remain huge for an outcome that we never needed to spend money on to get.

1 comment:

  1. To borrow from Matt Flynn:

    Call @GovEvers at 608-266-1212 and ask him to support a suit for breach of contract immediately.