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Georgia Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Rivian project’s bond agreement

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(The Center Square) — Georgia’s Supreme Court has denied a request to hear an appeal challenging the bond agreement state officials used to lure a controversial electric vehicle manufacturing project to the state.

At issue is a deal the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton struck to give $1.5 billion in incentives to electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian Automotive. The company is building a $5 billion plant in Morgan and Newton counties.

The deal between the state, the JDA and Rivian is a “bond for title” transaction, and under the arrangement, Georgia would lease the site to the JDA, which would lease it to Rivian for $1 per year. The company will make “payments in lieu of taxes,” which the city of Social Circle and Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties would split.

Last year, after Georgia officials filed a petition to validate $15 billion in taxable revenue bonds, which economic development officials are using to finance the project, Morgan County residents intervened, and a Morgan County judge ruled in their favor.

However, in April, the state’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state on most of the issues raised, and residents appealed to the state Supreme Court.

“To date, every decisive legal challenge has ruled in the State and JDA’s favor, reinforcing what we have known since December 2021 – Rivian is a generational opportunity for Georgians,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a statement the agency shared with The Center Square on Monday. “…With [this] news, we are looking forward to working with Rivian, our sister agencies, and local communities to capitalize on Georgia’s momentum at the forefront of the e-mobility revolution.”

State and company officials said the Rivian project will create 7,500 jobs with an average wage of $56,000. State officials expect production to start in 2026.

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