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New Ga. Caterpillar plant doesn't come cheaply

ATHENS (AP) -- Taxpayers in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties will pay a stiff price for the 1,400 jobs that Caterpillar is bringing to northeast Georgia.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports the two local governments paid almost $10 million to buy 252 acres for land that straddles the county line. The governments will spend millions more to build more roads and utility lines to service the 1.2 million square-foot plant.

It will cost $17.6 million for the land and the improvements. That's not including property tax abatements that will save Caterpillar $12.4 million over the next 20 years and another $45 million in state incentives.

Georgia economic officials say the package is typical for a project this size, but some analysts warn the incentives aren't always worth the cost.