An article at aeroworldnet states that the production of the B717-200 has been scaled down but no decision about the projects future has been made to date. Here it is (I know to which WSJ article you refer; could you please give a link to the USAtoday article, I haven´t found it):
Future of Boeing's 717 Jetliner Remains Unknown
Knight Ridder/Tribune - December 8, 2001
Dec. 7--LONG BEACH, Calif.--Aviation analysts say it's a done deal. Union engineers fear the final airframe rivets will soon be driven. Jittery white- and blue-collar workers privately fear their jobs are history, yet hope for the best.
But until top executives with Boeing Co. finish a review of the Boeing 717 program and officially say so -- and the decision could come as early as next week -- the beleaguered Boeing 717 passenger jetliner is still alive.
Meanwhile, scaled-down production schedules are being drawn up and put into place at the Boeing 717 plant in Long Beach, the largest employer in the city, so that the plane's production speed matches the smaller number of orders for the jetliner.
It means dispersing factory assembly workers more efficiently and slowing down the production line rate. Already what was once a virtual around-the-clock schedule of three working shifts has been reduced to one primary work shift.
The smaller than anticipated market for the 106-seat, midrange jetliners -- some analysts say it's a virtually nonexistent market -- coupled with hard economic times and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are what have put the 717 on the brink of extinction.
All this comes as union representatives and workers fight to keep the 717 production alive, staging an old-fashioned pep rally at the Long Beach Boeing plant to boost sagging spirits and tell Boeing executives to do the right thing.
On Thursday, about 150 Boeing workers rallied around the argument that there is a market for the plane, that it's a dependable plane -- beloved by passengers, pilots and airline companies -- but that Boeing is saving money by shifting production of similar midrange jetliners to production facilities in Russia.
It is the last passenger plane built in the state.
Boeing said the 717 is not being stopped to develop a similar plane in Russia. Also it said jobs are not being exported from Long Beach to Russia. And it said a contract between the company and that country was not signed in June.
"It has nothing to do with the Russian venture," Boeing spokesman John Thom said. "It will be based on program economics and our assessment of the marketplace."
In Long Beach, Thom and Jim Phillips, vice president & general manager of the Boeing 717 program, earlier this week said an announcement would come within two weeks.
Phillips has been in Seattle the last two weeks as the 717 program and the fate of its 4,500 workers are reviewed. The focus has been on determining whether or when airlines can get back into financial health and begin ordering airplanes.
In October, Boeing executives said a decision on the money-losing line would be made before the end of this year, and with Boeing shuttering all its plants and offices for the holidays beginning Dec. 21 and continuing through Jan. 2, tensions are rising because an announcement is imminent.
Eyes will focus on Chicago on Monday as the Boeing Co. board of directors convenes.
One analyst, though, said there's nothing left to study. The fate of the 717 was decided by the marketplace long ago.
"It's a superb plane, but it's completely not what the market wants," said Richard Aboulafia, director of aviation consulting for The Teal Group in Fairfax, Va.
Smaller regional airlines that likely would be the buyers for the plane simply cannot afford the $35 million price tag.
"I just can't imagine it surviving," Aboulafia said.