BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says Boeing used the state for leverage when it was shopping for potential plant sites during labor negotiations.

But Bentley said Wednesday that he believes the aircraft manufacturer really was interested in the Huntsville area as a new home for jetliner production. Bentley says putting together a proposal for the plant will help Alabama eventually.

But Bentley said he also believed the company used the state "to some extent" during the process, which came during contract discussions with its machinists union.

Bentley made his remarks after a luncheon speech in Birmingham where he talked about the upcoming legislative session.

Bentley says job creation remains his top priority, and he believes Alabama had a "good shot" at winning the Boeing plant before the company said it would make its new 777x aircraft in Washington state.

The announcement came after union members agreed to a new contract, which was a key to the decision.