Politics Outs Honda Engine Plant

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Honda is known for keeping its plans closely guarded, but the inscrutable Japanese giant is apparently no match for one-upmanship in small-town politics. North Carolina State Republican Rep. Cary Allred spilled the beans on Honda’s much-anticipated announcement that it would build engines for the HondaJet in Burlington, N.C., about 30 miles from where the jet itself will be built in Greensboro. Citing a “high-level state Department of Transportation official” who is “very knowledgeable about airports,” Allred blabbed to the Burlington Times News that the announcement -- from Honda -- is expected in about two weeks. “I’m told Honda has made a commitment,” he said. The plant, a partnership with GE called GE Honda Aero, will employ about 50 people. Allred was apparently inspired to tell all by an incident in which the Burlington-Allamance Airport Authority had a weekly newspaper publisher arrested for trying to crash one of their meetings on the topic. Allred says he’s upset with the way the authority is handling the matter and that the arrest of Tom Boney Jr., publisher of the Alamance News, for refusing to leave a closed-door meeting rankled him. “They have not consulted with me, so I’m going to blow their cover,” he says. “They haven’t had the courtesy to call me and ask me for my assistance or tell me what’s going on, and they’ve had a news reporter physically removed from a room. I’m tired of the arrogance.” Honda has kept its head predictably level through the whole thing, neither confirming nor denying Allred’s scoop.