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A judge's ruling could put the brakes on a proposed electric vehicle plant near Athens

211220 Kemp Rivian.jpg
Office of Governor Brian Kemp
Governor Brian Kemp speaks at a December 2021 event announcing Rivian's intent to build a major manufacturing facility in Georgia

A judge has issued a ruling that threatens the future of one of Georgia’s biggest economic development projects.

Morgan County Superior Court Chief Brenda Trammell ruled that a central component of the $1.5 billion dollar incentive package offered to electrical vehicle startup Rivian was not properly vetted, saying the bonds proposed to fund the project have not been proven to be sound, feasible or reasonable.

She also ruled that the type of land lease negotiated with Rivian is one subject to property taxes. If the ruling survives a likely appeal, it would not only disrupt the Rivian project, but could provide a pathway for residents in other parts of the state to challenge controversial local property tax breaks to corporations and developers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Trammel criticized the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton Counties for not doing more to determine Rivian’s financial health. Last quarter, the electric vehicle manufacturer reported a loss of $1.7 billion.

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