A look at key moments in Foxconn’s plan for Wisconsin plant
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Taiwanese company Foxconn Technology Group shifted its stated plans yet again on Friday for a massive Wisconsin technology campus. Here’s a look at key moments in the development of the project:
July 26, 2017: President Donald Trump announces Foxconn Technology Group will build a plant in southeastern Wisconsin . The company says it will invest $10 billion in a manufacturing campus that will produce large, Generation 10.5 liquid-crystal-display flat screens for big-screen TVs, self-driving cars, notebooks and other monitors. The company says the project could employ up to 13,000 people.
Sept. 18, 2017: Republican Gov. Scott Walker signs an unprecedented $3 billion state incentives package for the plant, brushing aside critics who warn the package is too expensive.
Oct. 4, 2017: Foxconn announces the plant will be built in Mount Pleasant in Racine County, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Milwaukee.
Dec. 5, 2017: The Racine County Board approves borrowing nearly $80 million to help pay for costs associated with the plant.
April 24, 2018: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approves air permits for the manufacturing campus.
April 26, 2018: The DNR approves a request from the city of Racine to pull 7 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan to serve the plant.
May 25, 2018: Environmental law firm Midwest Environmental Advocates asks an administrative law judge to block the Lake Michigan withdrawal , arguing it violates the Great Lakes Compact. The case is still pending.
June 28, 2018: Foxconn breaks ground in Mount Pleasant. Trump attends and calls the plant “the eighth wonder of the world.” That same day Foxconn announces it now plans to build much smaller Generation 6 screens and phase in production of Generation 10.5 screens later. Generation 6 production uses different machinery and is much cheaper than Generation 10.5 companies, according to industry experts.
August 29, 2018: The first walls for the campus go up in Mount Pleasant.
November 6, 2018: Democrat Tony Evers, a critic of the project, defeats Walker in the governor’s race.
Jan. 18, 2019: Foxconn finished 2018 with 178 full-time employees in Wisconsin, 82 workers short of the minimum required to claim job-creation tax credits.
Jan. 30, 2019: Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn’s CEO, sends a shockwave through Wisconsin when he tells Reuters that the company will scale back and possibly shelve plans to build display screens in the state, saying the company can’t compete. He says the Mount Pleasant facility will still perform manufacturing tasks but three-quarters of the workers will focus on research and the site would be more of a research hub.
Feb. 1, 2019: Foxconn changes its plans again after Chairman Terry Gou speaks directly with Trump, announcing the company will make Generation 6 screens at the Mount Pleasant site after all . Evers tells reporters that the company needs to improve its messaging and transparency, saying “there’s no limit to skepticism if the messaging isn’t coherent.”