It may be a longshot – but it’s worth the shot.

The venerable Boeing aircraft assembly plant in Long Beach apparently is in the running to build the new generation 777X jetliner. Just the prospect of this development is astonishing, given that the plant had recently rolled off the line the final C-17 built for the US Air Force. The company had said the assembly line would be shuttered for good in 2015.

That could all change with the recent announcement that the Machinists Union in Washington had rejected a tentative labor agreement that would have brought the work to the Seattle area.

Other states reported in contention include Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah.

California faces daunting obstacles to land a major new manufacturing project, one that the machinists union had estimated would bring 10,000 direct and 10,000 indirect industry jobs to the Puget Sound.

California holds a major advantage with our highly skilled and experienced workforce, especially our deep bench of engineers. Long Beach is also centrally located in a web of transportation infrastructure, including the largest port complex in the country.

On the other hand, the cost of doing business in California is notoriously high, contributing to a steady exodus of manufacturing jobs, even as national manufacturing employment has recovered. These costs affect every part of business operations: energy, employment benefits and mandates, and environmental regulation including air emissions and waste and water disposal.

California should build on some tentative progress it has made in the past year to improve the investment climate:

The availability of these tax credits should not eclipse other efforts the state should take to reduce costs of doing business – for Boeing and for thousands of other businesses, big and small. Key cost drivers that should be addressed include:

California – and the very plant in Long Beach – was a birthplace of the aerospace industry. With top-level leadership and a bipartisan commitment to stemming the costs of doing business, we have within reach a remarkable achievement.