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Governor's fund aided deal for Trex plant

by Noel Oman | October 28, 2021 at 1:53 a.m.

A state incentive package that helped land a $400 million manufacturing plant and more than 500 jobs at the Port of Little Rock included $10 million from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund, according to the Arkansas Department of Commerce.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson as well as a host of other state, county and local elected officials were on hand at the port Tuesday as Bryan Fairbanks formally announced that the firm he leads, Trex Co. Inc., will open its third production plant in the United States on a 290-acre site at the port.

The Virginia-based company makes decking, railing and other outdoor products from recycled plastic and wood.

"The Quick Action Closing Fund allows the Governor to act quickly and decisively in highly competitive situations to finalize an agreement with an employer to locate or expand its business in Arkansas," according to the Arkansas Development Commission, an arm of the Commerce Department.

The Quick Action Closing Fund, a discretionary tool, often is used to pay for infrastructure improvements with the amount "dependent upon the strength of the company, of jobs, average wage, project investment and costs associated with facility/site improvements."

The amount, first reported to be $12 million, will be used to pay for rerouting a road and extension of a rail line inside the port that will serve the 290-acre plant site.

The plant, once it is operational in 2024, will generate up to 2,000 rail car movements annually within the port. The port charges for those movements and stands to make as much as $650,000 annually handling Trex rail cars.

Trex also will receive a $400,000 customized training grant, Alisha Curtis, the agency's chief communications and legislative director, said in an email Wednesday.

Customized training grants "address needs for industry-specific technical training tailored to a company, skill, or specialized piece of equipment," according to the commission's website.

The company also will qualify for three other standard incentives used to attract or retain private-sector jobs. They include:

• Tax Back -- The State Sales and Use Tax Refund provides sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and taxable machinery to qualified businesses. Trex also won an exemption from local sales taxes when the Little Rock City Board of Directors authorized it at a special meeting Monday.

• The Create Rebate provides annual cash payments based on a company's annual payroll for new, full-time, permanent employees, an incentive offered at the discretion of the commission executive director.

• The Sales tax exemption on equipment is standard on machinery purchased for a new facility or to replace machinery and equipment at existing facilities.

Print Headline: Governor's fund aided deal for Trex plant

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