Henry Ford and other pioneers of the horseless carriage relied on private financial backers to build their operations. Today, a company that has developed a flying car wants taxpayer help in literally getting off the ground.
The Boston Herald reported yesterday that a two-year-old company called Terrafugia Inc. plans to meet next month with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to discuss a subsidy package for the company, which was founded by a group of MIT graduates. Gov. Deval Patrick has shown increasing interest in corporate giveaways lately. He was a strong proponent of the new refundable tax credit for film production, which my colleague Jeff McCourt recently blogged about here.
But the Bay State is not guaranteed to be chosen as the site for Terrafugia’s planned production facility. The Herald article mentions that two states with a history of boat making—Maine and Rhode Island—are also interested in bidding for the flying car firm, as are Texas and Michigan, the traditional home of the car business. The company, which prefers to call its retractable-winged product a “roadable aircraft” rather than a flying car, hopes to create some 500 manufacturing jobs by 2013, assuming the business takes off—literally and figuratively.
“I’d rather stay right here in Massachusetts,” Terrafugia’s CEO Carl Dietrich told the Herald, but “economics are economics.” Apparently, the actual cost of building the vehicles, which will sell for about $150,000 to $200,000, is less important than how much in the way of public money can be obtained.