Tesla reportedly sent a couple of its representatives to Tulsa, OK, to look at two potential sites for a new factory. Oklahomans would literally throw out the red carpet for a Tesla factory.
Oklahoma City had a GM plant for decades. It’s workers were lifetime employees. You don’t quit those jobs in Oklahoma. It closed when GM had to take a bailout and closed plants across the country. Oklahoma City got Boeing to move from Wichita, KS to OKC a few years ago. The Tulsa area benefited from Amazon opening a facility. The two cities are connected by a turnpike. People commute between the two frequently. Oklahoma needs decent paying factory jobs with insurance and benefits. Oklahoma isn’t a state that believes much in welfare and government. They believe in working. The cost of living is cheap. People look at average teachers salaries, average pay in OK, and things like median income and think wow no one is being paid very much. Well, nothing costs very much in Oklahoma in comparison to most states. I hired a truck driver last summer who had relocated to Enid, OK from Alameda, California. He said they had reservations about moving to Oklahoma because the pay scale seemed so low. He said he can’t believe how much cheaper housing and everything is in Oklahoma. He said he is living better in a nicer house with more disposable income than he ever has. Culturally, he was still adjusting but he isn’t leaving Oklahoma. The work ethic is different in Oklahoma. A factory job pays enough to buy you a nice house, put your kids through college, take vacations, and retire. There isn’t another factory down the street to go seek employment. The workforce tends to be stable and loyal.
In addition to the built-in workforce, Tulsa, OK, sits in a great location. It’s in the center of the country. It has interstates and turnpikes taking you in all four directions. It has the Arkansas river and the Port of Catoosa. The Port of Catoosa is where most of the grain from Kansas, Oklahoma, Eastern Colorado and the Texas panhandle is shipped. It’s loaded onto barges on the Arkansas River. It’s not far from Tulsa up to the Kansas City area which is another central shipping and trucking hub. Tulsa, OK, has tons of trucking going through and originating in the area. It’s a great central location for the trucking industry in terms of infrastructure and volume. It isn’t just grain and fertilizer shipped into and out of the Port of Catoosa or through the Tulsa area.
I sincerely hope that Oklahoma offers Tesla whatever they need to convince them to locate the new factory in the Tulsa, OK, area. I think it would be a mutually beneficial move for Tesla.