A measure that would authorize the issuance of bonds to allow two tire companies to expand their Oklahoma manufacturing plants today passed out of the House on Thursday.


A measure that would authorize the issuance of bonds to allow two tire companies to expand their Oklahoma manufacturing plants today passed out of the House on Thursday.

In 2002, the and Michelin North America Inc. in Ardmore and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Lawton both expanded their plants with the help of bonds issued by the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority under the Quality Jobs Program Act.

Senate Bill 1891 authorizes the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority to once again issue bonds to reimburse those companies for a portion of the costs associated with additional expansion of their plants.

The bonds cannot be issued until 2013 when the current bonds will be retired.

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, House author of the bill, said the bonds will allow the two companies to maintain their standing as leaders in the increasingly competitive global tire market.

"Tire manufacturing is very capital-intensive because tire companies are always pressure to upgrade and install the latest manufacturing technology to build a better tire," said Shannon, R-Lawton. "Oklahoma produces more passenger tires than anywhere in the world, but the market is extremely competitive, which is why we need to take steps to ensure that Goodyear and Michelin can continue to operate in Oklahoma."

Oklahoma is the world's largest producer of passenger radial tires, with Goodyear's 2,500-employee Lawton plant manufacturing 66,000 tires daily and Michelin's 1,800-employee Ardmore plant manufacturing 40,000 tires daily, according to Shannon.

The bill passed out of the House by a vote of 88-4 and now returns to the Senate for final approval.