ALCOA Gets Ready to Break Ground on $300 Million Expansion Project

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A year after a visit from President Barack Obama and a day after being named on of Fortune Magazine's "Most Admired Metal Companies in the World," ALCOA is breaking ground on a multi-million dollar expansion project.

On Friday, March 2nd at 2:30pm, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will join ALCOA officials and other local leaders at the company's Riverdale plant.

ALCOA officials are calling this $300 million expansion the largest single investment they've made at the facility in the last two decades.

The project is in response to new regulations called CAFE Standards or Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The federal government is requiring automakers to increase the fuel economy of their vehicles. One way auto companies are going to try to do that is by making cars and trucks lighter. That's where ALCOA comes in...

"Aluminum is much lighter than steel and so as we look out over the next couple of decades, we see that the auto industry is really going to be moving to aluminum," says John Riches, Community Relations Manager for ALCOA.

What is means for ALCOA is a bigger demand for that product, so Riches says they need more space. What is means for the Quad Cities, though, is more jobs.

"In the short term, that means about 150 contract/construction-type jobs over the next year and a half and then once the project is compelte and the project comes online, about 150 permanent, full-time jobs," says Riches.

The CAFE Standards will start taking effect for the 2017 model year. The rules require auto companies to double the average, unadjusted fuel economy rating of their cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 from today's standard of 27 miles per gallon.

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