General Motors officials in Wentzville are welcoming the White House announcement of a $17.4-billion rescue package for the Big Three automakers that will allow them to avoid bankruptcy.
Bob Wheeler with General Motors Communications at the GM plant in Wentzville applauds President Bush’s announcement which requires a restructuring. Wheeler says the GM restructuring effort was already in motion, with plans to have the majority completed by 2009. He says the plans will have to be accelerated as GM and Chrysler must show they are headed in the right direction and must demonstrate – by March 31st – that they are financially viable. Ford has said it does not need any short term help.
Wheeler says GM’s presence is critical to the economic health of Wentzville. "The 2300 people that we have employed at the Wentzville assembly center," says Wheeler. "If those jobs were gone, it would do devastation to Wentzville."
He points out the hurt would go well beyond the GM plant workers and their families. "It’s the school district, it’s the police department, it’s all those things because we do pay a huge chunk in taxes."
The Big Three are careful to point out that the money is a loan – not a handout.