A Black River Falls construction company will be in on the ground floor — and even below that level — of the massive Foxconn Technology Group development planned in southeastern Wisconsin.
Foxconn and its general contractor, Gilbane Building Co., announced Monday that Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls is one of 28 subcontractors selected to conduct site development work for the up to $10 billion flat-screen display panel plant in Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The contracts awarded have a total value of $100 million.
GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who last year pledged to invest $3 billion in taxpayer money to get the Taiwanese electronics giant to build the plant in Wisconsin, visited Hoffman Construction and two other state companies Monday for the announcement, saying in a statement, “Today we are seeing more of the Foxconn bonus throughout Wisconsin. ... It is great to see Wisconsin businesses and working families from all over our state benefiting from this historic investment.”
James Hoffman, president of Hoffman Construction, said he couldn’t reveal the size of the contract to be the lead excavation and storm water management contractor on the project, but he indicated the work will require moving about 4 million cubic yards of soil — the equivalent of 325,000 dump truck loads.
The project, which also involves installing 120,000 linear feet of underdrain and storm sewer, is scheduled for completion by Oct. 1.
“It’s a very significant business expansion for our company,” Hoffman said of the contract, adding that he expects it to result in hiring 150 more seasonal workers than usual this year.
As part of what Foxconn has described as a “Wisconsin first” policy, Hoffman Construction has committed to hiring more than 90 percent Wisconsin contractors for the work, with at least 10 percent of those companies owned by veterans, minorities and females, Hoffman said.
None of the other subcontractors announced Monday were from west-central Wisconsin.
Hoffman Construction previously was awarded a $12.7 million contract from the state Department of Transportation to build Interstate 94 frontage roads at the Highway 11 interchange in front of the Foxconn site, and Hoffman said he is hopeful the company will win more Foxconn-related contracts.
“Opportunities abound right now down there,” he said. “It’s like when Henry Ford picked Detroit to building the first auto factory. We are lucky Foxconn picked Wisconsin to build America’s only liquid crystal display factory.”
Foxconn said in a news release the plant will create 13,000 jobs and that the selected subcontractors would draw their direct and indirect workforce from about 60 of the state’s 72 counties.
The liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now announced Monday that its preliminary review shows the owners and their families of the newly revealed subcontractors have donated at least $359,000 to Walker’s campaign.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin put out a statement Monday pointing out the Illinois attorney general is planning to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for exempting Foxconn from pollution controls that would have protected air quality for Wisconsin and Illinois residents.
The statement indicated Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $4.5 billion to subsidize Foxconn while the Republican-controlled Legislature passed laws so the company will owe virtually no taxes on its profits and is exempt from producing an environmental impact statement.
“The costs Scott Walker has forced Wisconsinites to incur in order to bring Foxconn here are astronomical,” state Democratic Party chairwoman Martha Laning said. “His priorities are clearly not with the future of Wisconsin but with the future of his political career.”
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