TRI's Lance Gilman on Tesla: "We're Ready To Go"

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RENO, NV - News people try to avoid superlatives in our reporting, but the Tesla battery factory project just seems to generate them.

it's not just a factory. It's a "gigafactory", a game changer; the scope of the project is mind-boggling.

And as for what took place in a frantic effort over a period of less than four weeks at what was then known only as Project Tiger, a secretive construction site at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center? "It was biblical," says TRI developer Lance Gilman.

"Basically 3 three and a half million cubic yards in about three and a half weeks. I was told by the major contractor from Mississippi that only in Storey County at TRI could a project of this magnitude have been done in that amount of time."

And then as we all know, it came to a sudden stop. As many as 350 workers were idled. At least $18 million, perhaps more spent, and there was no deal.

Tesla president Elon Musk pointedly said the ball was in the court of the governor and the legislature. There it apparently remains.

In the meantime he still entertaining offers from four others states.

Some like Texas can offer big incentives.

Only in Nevada has dirt actually been turned and the speed with which that was done may weigh heavily in our favor.

"No one has started a grading project anywhere," says Gilman. "We were challenged to get the pad done. He who gets the pad done first wins. And so I thought, well, this is a horse race and we're out of the chute and we’re damn near all the way around the track. I don't believe anyone else has even started. We're ready to go. If you take a look at Nevada. We're ready to deliver the building."

In fact, he says although some minor work continues, slope grading, flood basins, they could start pouring concrete tomorrow. They could have done so two weeks ago after work stopped

Other sources have told us it appeared a deal was close weeks ago, but it's proved to be a moving target.

The competition is fierce For good reason. A site selection consultant based in New Jersey and not involved in this project told us there's been no high profile project like this anywhere for the past couple of decades.

For what it's worth, he told us he still thinks we're the top choice, but he adds Texas and its governor are formidable contestants in this arena.