MEMPHIS, Tenn-- Some business and government leaders are calling Toyota Boshoku's expansion plans a major win in West Tennessee. The automotive components manufacturer is investing $31 million into the facility creating 139 new jobs in Madison County.
Governor Bill Haslam was in the Bluff City to attend the Memphis Chamber Annual Luncheon and talked about economic development.
"They expanded one of their suppliers in Jackson. Toyota has a couple of companies they own in Jackson that have grown well," said Gov. Haslam
While Jackson is seeing signs of growth, the governor says he believes Memphis' economic development is also making progress.
"I think Memphis is on the right track. It's a very focused effort. You certainly have to have the right workforce in place and the right incentives," said Gov. Haslam.
The city and West Tennessee had hoped the Memphis Regional Megasite, which is located about 45 miles from downtown Memphis, would be attractive to new businesses. But the megasite failed to land a new auto plant planned by Toyota and Mazda.
"Obviously, they decided not to launch the auto plant in the megasite, which we are disappointed in, but we still think the site has great potential. I'm confident it will pay off for the state."
To make it pay off, some developers want the state of Tennessee to put another $72 million into the site. The money would be needed for wastewater, electrical, gas, water and railroad improvements to make it shovel ready for new companies. The state has already poured about $144 million into the site, but the governor says there's a possibility the money could be included in next year's budget.
"We are wrestling over a lot of good projects stage right now. There are always a lot of requests. There's always $5 dollars of good requests for every dollar we have, but it's been a priority of mine since we came in and it remains a priority."