Gubernatorial candidates speak on more money for Megasite

Gubernatorial candidates attending a Southwest Tennessee Development District gathering mostly voiced support for continued development of the Memphis Regional Megasite, according to the Jackson Sun. State officials say the project needs another $72 million in state funding to become “shovel ready” in addition to $140 million already spent — and Gov. Bill Haslam hasn’t said whether he’ll include the money in his final budget proposal for the coming year.

Bill Lee, a Williamson County businessman, said two concerns with the Megasite is it not being “shovel-ready” and not enough funds committed to West Tennessee in comparison to Middle and East Tennessee.

“I’ve come to believe there is going to have to be a dedicated commitment to the prosperity of this region if we actually want Tennessee to lead the nation economically,” Lee said.

…“Let’s not waste anymore money; let’s get this done,” (U.S. Rep. Diane) Black said. “Let’s get some of the work done, so we can get someone in here. It may take more than $72 million, but I’m going to commit to you today that if I’m the next governor of this state, that Megasite will be completed so we can attract more businesses in this state, so we can (bring) economic development back in an area that is critical and needs it.”

State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said he’s supported the Megasite since “day one” and his greatest frustration is the lack of progress.

“It is a good site; there are still automotive plants and other manufacturers that will come here,” Fitzhugh said. “We just got to finish it — and if I’m elected governor, we will not only finish it, we will put jobs in that site so West Tennessee can move forward.”

Gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Mae Beavers said the ECD needs to be held accountable regarding the Megasite.

“When ECD recommends we invest in something like the Megasite, they need to know what they’re doing,” Beavers said. “They need to know it’s not going to be shovel-ready. They need to know that sewers were lacking. That’s why it’s not shovel-ready. We need more accountability at the state level when we make these investments.”

Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean’s campaign manager Courtney Wheeler spoke for the former Nashville mayor, as he was unable to attend the luncheon, saying Dean, who is running against Fitzhugh in the gubernatorial Democratic primary, considers the Megasite a priority.

Republican gubernatorial candidates businessman Randy Boyd, house speaker Beth Harwell and realtor Kay White did not attend the Legislative Luncheon.

One Response to Gubernatorial candidates speak on more money for Megasite

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    Linda says:

    I will NOT vote for any candidate who wants to continue throwing good money at this site. I am a native West Tennessean, I have lived in all parts of Tennessee from Shelby County to Morristown and I am now living in Chattanooga. There is a reason why Middle and East Tennessee have found large companies like Volkswagen and Amazon to invest in facilities there and why West Tennessee has not.

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