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The billionaires trying to build a California city promise lots of jobs

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Wind turbines in Solano County, California
Photo: Loren Elliott/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

A bunch of billionaires are trying to build a city out in a rural area near San Francisco. The project, run by an entity called “California Forever” and dubbed the “East Solano Plan,” aims to construct a 20,000-home community in Solano County that would eventually be home to 50,000 people. CalMatters reports that LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen, and Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs are all on board. Additionally, Bloomberg reports that a host of companies have now promised to bring jobs to the region if voters give them the go-ahead to get started.

Among them are dronemaker Zipline, Nvidia- and Uber-backed AI delivery company Serve Robotics, and aerospace manufacturer Hadrian. California Forever wants to line up 15,000 jobs paying at least $88,000, but Thursday’s announcement doesn’t specify how many of those jobs the companies are promising or how much they’ll pay.

“These employers have committed that ‘if Solano County voters approve the project this November, we would be interested in bringing jobs to the new community and finding other opportunities to work together to expand the California Dream,’” the announcement said.

California Forever has had a mixed reception among locals, who it sued to open up more land for development and won. But earlier this month, Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV reported that the project had gathered enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot in November that will decide its fate.

Jan Sramek, the ex-Goldman Sachs trader who is California Forever’s CEO, wants it to be an example of how the Golden State could nurture an enclave that is more philosophically aligned with economic rivals like Florida and Texas. The company is pushing for a brand new city because it thinks it would be too hard to do what it wants in a more established urban area. In September, the Associated Press reported that they had spent $800 million so far acquiring land for it.

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