NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee is one step closer to signing a nearly $900 million incentives package to jump-start Ford’s multibillion-dollar investment in West Tennessee.
The mega-site, which will include Ford’s Blue Oval City, is expected to bring 5,800 jobs to the Memphis area site.
The West Tennessee mega-site began under former Governor Phil Bredesen and now Governor Bill Lee will seal the deal with Ford on this major investment.
The bill was embraced and passed in bi-partisan fashions.
“In the Senate chamber, all Democrats voted for it and all but a couple Republicans voted for it so it had overwhelming support,” said Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin).
The deal to secure the $5.6 billion Ford investment is awaiting the signature of Lee.
“West Tennessee it’s your time this is a transformative investment it’s going to help generations of people not just provide a job, but provide training for future jobs,” said Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis).
Lawmakers agreed to two bills to organize a Megasite Authority Board and to fund the incentives and infrastructure for the Ford Plant and the SK Innovation battery factory.
“If I came to you and said hey I’ve got an opportunity for an 11 to 1 return on your money, 500 million for 5.6 billion that’s a good deal for Tennessee,” Johnson said.
But Sen. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), who voted against the bills, says he has concerns about private property and eminent domain.
“It just seems we gave a lot of extra authority to this one board and I’m on government operations, so we get to watch these and it seems that with them having the power to condemn private land and such that just seems to be a strong overreach of what we would be having them to do,” said Pody.
Tennessee will pay for the investment using surplus tax dollars.
“It will pay for itself just know we’re not raising taxes for it, it comes from a surplus and it’s going to be a good project for everyone.”
The project also includes a $40 million training college.