Navistar to take control of railcar plant; 2000 jobs possible

File Photo: National Alabama railcar plant.
File Photo: National Alabama railcar plant.

Navistar International Corporation is announcing that it will lease the National Alabama railcar plant in Colbert County, a decision that could spur the creation of up to 2,000 jobs.

"This has the potential to be one of the largest economic development projects in the United States and will transform northwest Alabama," Governor Robert Bentley said.

The governor's office says it's been working with the Retirement Systems of Alabama, local and state officials on the project "for a long time."

This lease by Navistar from RSA will be the Illinois-based company's third manufacturing plant in Alabama. It already operates two engine plants in Huntsville.

The RSA invested nearly $600 million in the railcar company in 2007, but the industry tanked along with the economy. With it went the possibility of 1,800 jobs.

"It has been a long road for this area between the railcar plant groundbreaking and today's announcement," Bentley said. "This project will bring a large number of high paying jobs that the people of northwest Alabama need and deserve."

Navistar, a Fortune 500 company, is known locally for sponsorship of the Navistar LPGA Golf Classic held annually in Prattville.

The company will officially take over National Alabama's railcar plant on January 1, 2012.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Retirement Systems of Alabama is a primary lender to Raycom Media, the parent company of WSFA 12 News.

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