Schumer: ‘AMD is serious’ about building plant

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer told reporters Tuesday there was “no doubt in his mind” that Advanced Micr

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer told reporters Tuesday there was “no doubt in his mind” that Advanced Micro Devices will commit to a project to build a chip fabrication plant in the Luther Forest Technology Park, although he said he couldn’t guarantee it.

Schumer said he spoke with AMD CEO Hector Ruiz on Friday and based on that conversation he is convinced AMD is moving ahead with plans to build the $3.2 billion chip fabrication plant, despite the company having lost money in each of the last five quarters.

State Senate Majority Leader Joeseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, also attended the news conference and expressed their belief that the project would go forward.

Bruno called it the biggest economic development project in the history of New York state and praised the bipartisan support of local, state and federal officials to promote it.

“Something like this, as big as this, just doesn’t happen without a lot of support from a lot of people,” Bruno said.

AMD has until July 2009 to commit to breaking ground on the project or else lose more than $1.2 billion in Empire State Development grant funding, tax breaks and other incentives promised to the company if it builds the chip plant.

“[Sen. Bruno] and I have been around for a little while, and we can kind of tell when [a company] is trying to ‘huckster’ us. That isn’t the case here; AMD is serious,” Schumer said.

Steve Groseclose, AMD’s director of global environment health and safety, said the company is actually planning to break ground on the project ahead of schedule. He said there are many complex factors that will go into the decision to commit, including recent tightness in the U.S. credit markets. He said company officials are working toward a January 2009 ground-breaking, seven months ahead of the deadline.

“The commitment will come as soon as we can. As soon as it makes business sense to do so,” Groseclose said.

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