megasite

New TNJ edition alert: Lee lands megasite funding

The state Senate holds a redistricting hearing on Oct. 18, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

This week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out in the world. Here are the highlights:

— Lee secures $884M incentive package for Ford’s megasite project.

— Like it or not (and business groups don’t), another special session approaches.

— From the campaign trail: Congressional fundraising, Democrat drops gubernatorial bid, Robinson gets an opponent, and Weston Wamp jumps into the Hamilton County mayor’s race.

— Slatery to lawmakers: I’m not political, you’re political.

Also: Kiffin take the high road, Japan-America Society criticized for honoring Hagerty, and Vaughan likens deficiencies in megasite deal to eating carrot cake without pecans in the icing.

As always, access your copy of the TNJ here or subscribe here.

UPDATE: Ford incentive deal, megasite panel approved by General Assembly

The Memphis Regional Megasite.

The nearly $900 million incentive package for Ford to build Blue Oval City on the Memphis Regional Megasite has passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

The Senate voted 27-3 on both the funding measure and a bill creating a new megasite authority. The opponents were Sens. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), and Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).

The House later voted 90-3 to approve the bill fudning the megasite. Opponents were Reps. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster), and Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro).

The bills are expected to be signed into law quickly by Gov. Bill Lee so work on the megasite can get underway.

New TNJ edition alert: Megasite comes out on top

In this week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal:

— Dirty word no more: West Tenn. megasite lands huge Ford plant.

— Obituaries: 16-year justice Clark, GOP player Shoaf, income tax backer Stewart.

— Federal jury convicts Democrat Robinson of wire fraud charges.

Also: Niceley touts “soft secession,” Fiscus wants to put muzzle business behind her, congressional delegation wants to name post office after Harper, and a look into endangered species among Tennessee politicos.

As always, access your copy of the TNJ here or subscribe here.

Ford picks Memphis Regional Megasite for $5.6B electric vehicle and battery plant

Ford is announcing plans to build a $5.6 billion electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility on the sprawling Memphis Regional Megasite. The Dearborn, Mich-based automaker said the project dubbed Blue Oval City will create nearly 6,000 jobs.

Gov. Bill Lee said he will call a special session in the coming weeks for lawmakers to approve a $500 million incentive package for the project slated to comprise nearly all of the 6.5-square-mile site in Haywood County. Lee noted that Tennessee will join Indiana as the only states where four auto companies produce vehicles. The Volunteer State’s existing manufacturers, General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen also have made heavy investments in electric vehicles.

Ford plant is projected to start assembling electric F-Series trucks in 2025 and the joint venture with South Korea’s SK Innovation is slated to begin making batteries there the same year. Company officials say it is Ford’s first all-new plant to be commissioned since 1969.

The Ford F-150 Lightning Electric Truck. (Image credit: Ford)

The ongoing development of the megasite has been a subject of a yearslong debate among lawmakers and politicians, some of whom have complained it was too big, remote, and expensive. According to an outside study previously commissioned by the Lee administration, 18 prospects had considered — but decided against — the megasite, including five original equipment manufacturers, five battery or stored energy companies, six tiremakers, one data center, and an appliance manufacturer.

Here’s the full release from Ford:

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Lee, Boyd differ on megasite development at guber forum

Two leading Republican candidates for governor in Tennessee drew a contrast over an economic development “megasite” during a forum Thursday, reports the Associated Press.

At the Tennessee Press Association forum, former state economic development chief Randy Boyd said it’s worth the time and remaining investment of $70 million-plus to the Memphis Regional Megasite because it could help create more than 30,000 jobs.

But businessman Bill Lee said there isn’t currently a workforce prepared for the jobs that the megasite might attract.

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Haslam proposes $30M in bonds to partially cover remaining Megasite expenses

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed state budget for the next fiscal year calls for issuing $30.7 million in bonds to partially cover the extra cost of making the Memphis Megasite “shovel ready.” As WPLN reports, that’s less than half the $80 million that Economic and Community Development officials said is needed.

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Megasite waste water dumping site relocated after vocal local opposition

After vocal opposition from residents in and around the Tipton County community of Randolph, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, state officials are withdrawing their current plans for the Memphis Regional Megasite’s 35-mile long wastewater pipeline, reports the Memphis Daily News.

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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.

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Opposition develops to new megasite in Montgomery and Robertson counties

Opposition has surfaced to plans for creating an new 1,800-acre industrial megasite in Montgomery and Robertson counties, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. An online petition against the plan had garnered more than 230 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

One of the people behind the petition, Debra Moore, who lives “almost next-door” to the proposed megasite in Montgomery County, said residents have two basic concerns.

“The people out there are concerned about the impact on the farmland, which is some of the best farmland in our county, as well as the additional debt that (Montgomery) county would take on,” Moore said. “I guess we were all surprised … at why they had to skip-jump from Montgomery County’s existing industrial park (near exits 4 and 8 of Interstate 24), all the way out here.”

Residents who live near the proposed megasite chose the location because “they want to get away from the city,” Moore said. “They want the quiet lifestyle.”

… “We certainly respect the rights of residents in the area to voice their opinion, pro and con, on this development,” said Margot Fosnes, president and chief economic development officer with the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce. “This particular area has many qualities that make it attractive as a megasite, water availability and rail access being two critical assets. We are very cognizant of the importance of agricultural lands and their value to Robertson County and would work to make sure this project did not negatively impact these interests.

“This project could go a long way to providing more options for our farm families to keep their children and grandchildren working close to home.”

In an emailed statement, Robertson County Economic Development Board Chairman Roger Blackwood said the megasite is a realization of the board’s primary goal to create more, high-paying jobs for residents.

Note: The referenced petition is HERE.

ECD commissioner: Memphis Megasite needs another $72M in state funding

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe says another $72 million in state funding is needed to complete work on the Memphis Regional Megasite, reports the Jackson Sun. That would push total state investment in the 4,100-acre site, so far unused, well past the $200 million mark.

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