North Carolina Using Eminent Domain To Seize Homes and a Church for Electric Car Factory

VinFast is the first company to develop electric vehicles in its native Vietnam, and it’s now making inroads into the American market. Last year, it announced it would build a factory in North Carolina that would manufacture both electric cars and batteries. Then, last week, the company said it would not be able to begin production at the facility until 2025, rather than the initial summer 2024 target.

An upstart company needing extra time to fulfill its promises is hardly news. But in this case, a lot hangs in the balance, as the North Carolina government has pledged to use eminent domain to evict multiple homeowners, businesses, and a church.

When Gov. Roy Cooper announced the deal in March 2022, he called the project “transformative” and said it would “bring many good jobs to our state.” CNBC cited the project when it named North Carolina America’s Top State for Business, marveling that Cooper, a Democrat, was able to strike such business-friendly deals with a General Assembly dominated by Republicans.

While it was only founded in 2017, VinFast has the backing of Vietnam’s wealthiest citizen and has been valued somewhere between $20 billion and $60 billion. For the North Carolina factory, the company pledged to spend $4 billion and create 7,500 jobs within five years. In exchange, the state promised incentives totaling $1.2 billion, including $450 million toward site preparation; $400 million from Chatham County, where the facility would be located; and a $316 million grant over 32 years in which the company is reimbursed for the state income tax money its employees pay.

But taxpayer money isn’t the only thing the state is giving away. As part of its site preparation process, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) also planned roadway improvements to accommodate the traffic a new factory would create. Those plans would require displacing a total of 27 homes, five businesses, and Merry Oaks Baptist Church, which has stood on its spot since 1888.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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